Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Former Economics Minister John Deng (鄧振中), who was appointed as minister without portfolio Tuesday, will be responsible for overseeing the country's economic and trade negotiations with foreign governments, an official said later that day.
Deng was appointed to the new post by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
According to Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), the appointment is based on a proposal by Premier Lin Chuan (林全), who hopes to take advantage of Deng's expertise in economic affairs and experience in trade negotiations.
Deng has held several important positions in the administrations of former presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), having served as deputy chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, deputy representative to the World Trade Organization, deputy representative to the United States, chief representative of the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, deputy economics minister, deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council, and minister without portfolio.
He became minister of economic affairs in December 2014, a position he held until Ma left office on May 20 this year.
It is widely believed that one of the most important missions for Deng in his new position will be to help the government promote Taiwan's bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In an interview with CNA, Deng said that obtaining membership of the TPP is very important to Taiwan.
The government not only needs to strengthen its communication with the people of Taiwan to find a way of gaining entry that is acceptable to all sides, but also must try to ease the concerns of other TPP members and win their support, he said.
Unless these issues are resolved, it will be impossible for Taiwan to join the trade bloc, he added.
(By Huang Chiao-wen and Y.F. Low)ENDITEM/J