Taiwan's overseas envoys return home to help with TPP, RCEP bid
Central News Agency
2014-02-17 11:42 AM
Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) A group of Taiwan's overseas envoys attended a seminar that began Monday in Taipei as part of the country's preparations to seek entry into two proposed Asia-Pacific trade blocs. At the opening ceremony in Taipei, President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated his government's determination to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Regional economic integration is the focus of global trade liberalization, he said. Taiwan's competitiveness will be undermined if it cannot participate in the two trade blocs, Ma said, adding that the two blocs are key to building a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region. The goal of the seminar is to bring the overseas representatives together to find ways of gaining support abroad for Taiwan's bid and to obtain a better understanding of the country's trade liberalization efforts, he said. "We hope the seminar will give the representatives a better understanding of the government's resolve," Ma said. The TPP negotiating countries account for around 34.4 percent of Taiwan's trade, and the RCEP countries 57 percent, Ma added. The four-day seminar is being attended by Taiwan envoys posted mainly in countries involved in the trade bloc negotiations. Over the next few days, they will visit the free economic pilot zones in southern Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is organizing the seminar jointly with the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The TPP currently is being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 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, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Taiwan has repeatedly reiterated its desire to join the two trade blocs so as to avoid being economically marginalized in the region. (By Elaine Hou)
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