Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday that the Legislature's failure to pass an agreement on trade in services, signed last June between Taiwan and China, is hurting Taiwan's efforts to join regional trade blocs.
"The delay does not harm the Kuomintang (KMT), but rather Taiwan," Ma said at a meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee, in his capacity as chairman of the ruling party.
One of the consequences will be a negative effect on the country's bid to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Ma said.
In turn, this will lead to Taiwan's marginalization in global economic integration, he said, expressing regret that the Legislature did not pass the cross-Taiwan Strait trade services pact in its most recent session Sept. 17 to Jan. 14.
The president gave a directive for the Cabinet and KMT legislative caucus to come up with a joint strategy to achieve passage of the agreement.
The trade-in-services agreement between Taiwan and China, signed on June 21 last year, is seen as a crucial step in Taiwan's efforts to remove trade barriers and help clear the way for its participation in the TPP and RCEP, which is one of the major policies of Ma's administration.
The TPP is a proposed regional free trade agreement being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The RCEP refers to a proposal for a regional free trade area that would initially include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six countries with which ASEAN has free trade links -- Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand.