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Seminar on trade bloc bids set for Feb.17 in Taipei
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-12 10:25 AM
Taiwan has called a number of its diplomatic representatives back to Taipei for discussions and training on how to handle the nation’s bid for membership in two proposed Asia-Pacific trade blocs. The envoys, most of whom represent Taiwan in countries already involved in the trade bloc negotiations, will attend a seminar aimed at finding ways to gain support abroad for Taiwan's bids to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

John Lai, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOEA), explains that one topic likely to be discussed will be the challenges Taiwan faces in signing economic agreements with other countries. The seminar will also include a briefing on Taiwan's free economic pilot zones and visits to central and southern Taiwan, Lai said at a press conference Tuesday.

"[The seminar] is aimed at giving overseas representatives a better understanding of the country's trade liberalization efforts," said Lai.

The four-day seminar, organized by the ministries of foreign and economic affairs, will start Feb. 17.

The MOEA notes that Taiwan's representatives to Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam will return for the seminar.

Diplomatic sources say that Taiwan's representative to the US, King Pu-tsung, will not return to attend the seminar himself, but Taiwan's deputy representative to the US will be present.

King was appointed Secretary-General of the National Security Council on Feb. 7.

Taiwan's current representative to the United Kingdom Shen Lyushun, who has been named to succeed King as Taiwan's representative in the US, will attend the seminar.

The TPP currently is being negotiated by the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations – Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

The RCEP is being negotiated by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Taiwan has repeatedly expressed its desire to join the two trade blocs in order to avoid being economically marginalized in the region.

The government has pushed aggressively to liberalize Taiwan's economy to prepare for a free trade environment and has said it will continue to communicate the need for economic reform to the public while seeking the support of other countries.

The goal for completing preparations for Taiwan's TPP bid is set for July this year.

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