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Economic Minister to attend APEC energy

Economics Minister Woody Duh Tyzz-Jiun (杜紫軍) will lead a delegation today to Beijing, China to attend the 2014 APEC Energy Ministerial Meeting with the intention of gaining support from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members to back a natural gas trade initiative that has been developed by Taiwan. The meeting will be held in Beijing on Sept. 2-3.

The delegation is made up of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Energy and the Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The main topic this year highlights cooperation to advance Asia to the status of a sustainable energy zone, with topics divided into four major discussion panels. The four panels include energy security, energy trade and investment, energy efficiency and sustainable communities as well as clean energy sources and applications. Officials from the MOEA have stated that the delegation is rigorously prepared to exchange ideas and opinions with fellow APEC energy ministers.

Reportedly, Duh will be one of the first speakers at the meeting, and he plans to start by addressing the issue of energy trade and investment. During his speech, Duh will seek to stress the importance of a stable natural gas supply and the development of trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG), as these two elements are crucial to sustainable energy development and energy safety in the APEC region.

According to officials of the MOEA Energy Bureau, LNG trading within Asia has not been in accordance with international specifications. Imposed regulations such as the "take or pay" regulation have been noted to be unfriendly to buyers, which results in negative trade decisions.

As LNG investment plans involve large sums of money, producers often seek to sign long-term contracts with buyers to stabilize production. However, buyers are generally not willing to increase their purchase amount, which in turn results in developers lacking the capital for equipment upgrades, officials said.

To improve the situation, MOEA officials stated that Taiwan has developed the Initiative to Promote Liquefied Natural Gas Trading within APEC Membership Areas (促進APEC區域液化天然氣貿易倡議), in hopes of removing bad policies and to promote trade efficiency within the Asia-Pacific area. The plan will encourage LNG producers and buyers to vitalize the market to achieve a win-win situation, the officials said.

Duh will also aim to promote the initiative during his trip, officials said, hoping to gain support on the Taiwan-developed energy initiative that has already been backed by countries including the United States of America, Russia, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

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