Premier Lin reaffirms government’s commitment to joining TPP

The Republic of China (Taiwan) government is committed to seeking membership for the country in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and playing its part in bringing the trade agreement into force for the benefit of the fastest-growing region of the world economy, Premier Lin Chuan said June 23.

Since the first round of TPP talks in March 2010, the government has consistently voiced interest in Taiwan joining the pact, Lin said in an interview with Tokyo-based news outlet Nikkei Asian Review in Taipei City. It also welcomes Japan's bigger role in driving regional economic integration after the U.S. pulled out of the agreement in January, he added.

According to Lin, Taiwan remains an important economy in terms of gross domestic product and market access, and including it in the TPP represents a win-win outcome for all parties involved.

The high standards of the TPP in areas such as environmental and labor rights protection are in keeping with the government's policy platform, Lin said, adding that Taiwan is ready and willing to fulfill a constructive role in advancing this agenda, as well as the agreement's goal of promoting a level economic playing field on the road to achieving greater prosperity for all.

But TPP membership is not the only avenue the government is pursuing in strengthening Taiwan's position in the global economy, Lin said. Forging closer trade ties with the EU, Southeast Asian countries, the U.S. and mainland China are all top priorities going forward, he added.

According to Lin, although the government welcomes measures aimed at reducing barriers to cross-strait trade, these must deliver results equally benefitting the two sides. This is especially important given the opposition in some segments of Taiwan society to the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), he said.

At the same time, the government is open to continuing negotiations with the authorities in mainland China so as to create a basis for expanded dialogue between the two sides.

Concerning other aspects of cross-strait ties, the premier identified the so-called 1992 consensus, which Beijing maintains is based on its one China principle, as one of the reasons for Panama's unilateral decision June 13 to break ties with the ROC and establish official relations with mainland China.

It is not a smart move by Beijing to try and influence ROC diplomatic allies using economic and political power, Lin said, as such actions are wrong and harmful to the positive development of cross-strait relations. Beijing must face up to the fact that the government and people of Taiwan will never bow to this form of pressure, he added.

Source: Taiwan Today