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President Ma Ying-jeou attends seminar on Taiwan’s bid to participate in TPP and RCEP
Date: 2014/02/26    Data Source: 公眾外交協調會
February 17, 2014
Press Release No. 026
The “Strategic Planning Seminar on Taiwan’s Bid to Participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), was held on February 17, 2014, at MOFA’s Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs. President Ma, Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy Yang, National Security Council Secretary-General Jason Yuan, and other officials were present at the opening ceremony. 
In remarks delivered at the event, President Ma stressed that this year is crucial for the Republic of China (Taiwan) vis-à-vis regional economic integration. Last year, trade between Taiwan and the 12 nations negotiating the TPP accounted for 34.4 percent of the nation’s total trade volume, while that between Taiwan and the 16 states negotiating the RCEP accounted for 56.6 percent. This indicates, the President said, the importance these accords have for the ROC. As stated in the APEC 2010 Leaders’ Declaration, both the TPP and the RCEP are important paths to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). Joining the TPP and the RCEP is an unshakeable goal that Taiwan will pursue as a member of APEC. Given that the first round of TPP negotiations is already in its final stage, and that talks on the RCEP are scheduled to be completed by 2015, the nation’s overseas representative offices and embassies will spare no effort, make use of all available resources, and act in line with domestic policies and plans. The nation’s bids to join the two trade blocs will thus be carried forth simultaneously and with all possible speed.
President Ma also pointed out that after Taiwan signed the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with mainland China, the Taiwan-New Zealand Economic Cooperation Agreement (ANZTEC) and Taiwan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (ASTEP) were inked, while negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement were resumed with the United States in March of last year. These developments create conditions favorable to our participation in regional economic integration. In addition, Taiwan and mainland China have inked a trade in services agreement that will help Taiwan’s e-commerce, finance, and securities businesses expand their presence in mainland China. Meanwhile, negotiations on a trade in goods agreement are ongoing, with talks on nearly two-thirds of the more than 8,000 goods involved having already been concluded. After these agreements pass through the domestic legislative process, they will, the President said, become bargaining chips Taiwan can use when negotiating with other nations. In sum, these efforts have been made in the hopes of finding a viable and vibrant path forward for Taiwan’s economy.
In his conclusion, President Ma expressed a wish that the nation’s ambassadors and representatives would understand the people’s expectations of an improved economy, and the determination and plans of the government to promote trade liberalization. Taiwan’s representatives must, the President said, formulate strategies meeting the particulars of their host nations to promote the nation’s bids, such that members of the TPP and the RCEP may better understand the ROC’s efforts and achievements in realizing trade liberalization. The result, he said, will be that the nation will garner broad support in relevant countries which will ease its participation into regional economic integration and inject new life into Taiwan’s economy.
Not long after President Ma called for people to work together to bolster the economy in his New Year’s Day Address, MOFA and the MOEA invited ambassadors and economic counselors stationed in the 17 TPP/RCEP member states home to take part in the seminar, showing the government’s determination and ability to act. The two-and-a-half-day seminar and the one-and-a-half-day field trip showed participants strategies that would promote Taiwan’s bids and improve domestic and overseas communication and coordination. It also provided them with in-depth knowledge of the strengths and needs of industries. After returning to their host countries, these diplomatic representatives are now empowered to improve communication on and promotion of the ROC’s economic liberalization measures, attempt to garner the support of their host governments, and solicit investment. (E)