Taipei, June 7 (CNA) With regional economic integration becoming a main global trend, Taiwan cannot afford to be excluded and must focus on promoting regional partnerships, said Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang on Thursday.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for instance, is planning to establish a Framework for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said Shih, who recently returned from the 18th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic ministers' meeting.
The purpose of the ASEAN partnership is to expand the Southeast Asian trade bloc by integrating countries that have signed free trade agreements through ASEAN+1 arrangements, Shih explained.
Other regional trade blocs that are negotiating economic integrations include the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiated by the U.S, the minister said.
In addition, Russia has formed the Eurasian Economic Commission, which might extend its membership in the future, Shih said, adding that the commission presently includes only Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
In response to the formation of regional trade blocs, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs has been promoting and carrying out international and regional economic integration proposals, Shih said.
Taiwan is also negotiating on the signing of economic cooperation agreements (ECAs) with Singapore and New Zealand, while conducting follow-up talks of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between with mainland China, he added.
In addition, the ministry is analyzing the possibility of signing ECAs with other main trade partners, Shih said.
(By Lin Meng-ju and C.J. Lin)