Taiwan aims to join Trans-Pacific Partnership: minister

11/10/2010 11:01 PM
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Yokohama, Nov. 10 (CNA) Taiwan is seeking to join theTrans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a means to promote a proposed FreeTrade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) amid multilateral effortsto boost economic integration in the region, a Taiwan official saidWednesday.

"Advocacy of the FTAAP through participation in TPP is a majorgoal of APEC member states, and Taiwan has gathered information andhas contacted other APEC members to explore that possibility, "Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-shiang told a news conferencefollowing the opening of an annual APEC ministers' meeting earlierthat day in Yokohama, Japan.

TPP, along with ASEAN plus three or ASEAN plus six, can serve asa foundation on which countries in the region can lay a soundframework for greater economic integration, he explained.

According to Shih, most participants at the APECministerial-level meeting were supportive of the FTAAP goal.

TPP is a multilateral free trade agreement initiated by four APECeconomies -- Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore -- in 2005.Five other APEC member nations -- Australia, Malaysia, Peru, theUnited States and Vietnam -- are also seeking to enter the body.

Former Vice President Lien Chan, who will represent President MaYing-jeou at the APEC leaders' summit Nov. 13-14, said Tuesday thatTaiwan supports the APEC's long-term goal to form an FTAAP and willstep up negotiations with other TTP members regarding its ownmembership.

(By Y. F. Lin and Flor Wang)enditem/MH

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