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Legal revisions needed for TPP bid: economics minister
Central News Agency
2014-08-25 10:00 PM
Taipei, Aug. 25 (CNA) Taiwan may need to amend around 50 laws and regulations if it hopes to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free trade agreement that is still under negotiation, the country's new economics minister said Monday. Duh Tyzz-jiun, who assumed the post on Aug. 10, told CNA that the conclusion was based on a comprehensive review of the laws and regulations that could have a bearing on Taiwan's TPP participation. "They will be our bargaining chips and weaknesses in future negotiations," Duh said, declining to disclose which regulations he was referring to. Premier Jiang Yi-huah directed all governmental units to complete preparations related to Taiwan's bids to join the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by July. Confirming Monday that the "basic preparations" had been completed, Duh stated that joining the two regional economic blocs was still just "a goal," with many questions still to be answered.

For example, he said, even if Taiwan were accepted today to join the TPP, "could we open our markets to the 90 percent threshold" required of any economy hoping for TPP membership? "Are we prepared (for that)?" Duh asked. Asked if Taiwan will push for access to the United States-led TPP by opening its doors to U.S. pork containing traces of the controversial leanness-enhancing veterinary drug ractopamine, the minister said "it is difficult to talk about future matters." There are currently many countries, including Taiwan, that impose a ban on imports of ractopamine-tainted pork, Duh said, noting that he would not have any preconceptions on the issue, which hinges on the results of TPP negotiations. Taiwan must also consider if it can meet the conditions needed to join the TPP and RCEP, Duh said, because if it cannot, the Legislative Yuan and the public will have to decide what they want. "A free economy is a trade-off," he said. "If we want to get these things (access to the TPP and RCEP), we must give up something in exchange." (By Huang Chiao-wen and Elizabeth Hsu)

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