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Taiwan hopes to collaborate with U.S. on regional efforts: official

2018/01/20 15:01:32

Minister John Deng (鄧振中)/ CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) Taiwan is looking to strengthen its cooperation with the U.S. in the region covered by the New Southbound Policy as President Donald Trump's administration also makes the Indo-Pacific region a priority, an official said Friday.

John Deng (鄧振中), Taiwan's top trade negotiator and a minister without portfolio overseeing the New Southbound Policy, made the remarks during a video conference presentation to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington-based policy research group, according to statement released by the Office of Trade Negotiations.

Deng explained how the New Southbound Policy uses Taiwan's soft power as a foundation to develop increased exchanges with ASEAN, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand that are mutually beneficial, the statement said.

Deng also elaborated on the preliminary results that the policy has yielded in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and university exchange programs since Taiwan began executing it more than a year ago.

On the matter of regional partnerships, the minister drew parallels between Taiwan's New Southbound Policy and the U.S. "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy.

Deng underscored Taiwan's desire to play an important role in working with the U.S. in its policy, which aims to make trade even more free and open in the region, as well as safeguard peace.

He called on the U.S. to strengthen its collaboration with Taiwan.

Geographically speaking, certain areas covered by both policies, namely those in the Eastern Hemisphere, overlap, he noted

So Taiwan is hoping to increase exchanges between government officials, businesses and think tanks from the two sides, especially in regards to issues related to the region, he said.

The minister added that Taiwan wants to ink a free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S., though there is currently no timeline for lifting bans on certain U.S. beef and pork imports, which have been an obstacle for an agreement to be reached between the two.

Taiwan will, however, make efforts to continue to open up its trade and market, while safeguarding the health of its people, Deng concluded.

(By Elaine Hou, Rita Cheng and Kuan-lin Liu)
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