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September 21, 2017

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Diplomats to return in Feb. for TPP preparation

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Executive Yuan yesterday said in order to boost Taiwan's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bids, the government plans to ask diplomats who are stationed in TPP or RCEP member-countries to participate a four-day training in Taiwan next month.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday held a cross-ministry meeting and urged all ministries to produce plans and strategies as soon as possible for joining the TPP.

The Cabinet said the four-day intensive training for the diplomats is part of a plan for them to engage in relevant lobbying in TPP and RCEP member-countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying that 17 diplomats will be returned to Taiwan around mid-February to attend the training session.

Jiang urged government agencies to communicate and promote the government's objectives in joining the TPP to the people, and strive for the nation's support as it is essential to reach a consensus within the nation.

The premier noted that at the same time the ministries should keep engaging in economic relations with TPP and RCEP members, and show Taiwan's determination in economic liberalization.

Jiang said, on the other hand, the Executive Yuan will supervise the TPP preparation progress regularly, and report the latest information to President Ma Ying-jeou. The government is aiming to complete TPP preparation by the end of July, Jiang added.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan's representatives in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India, the United States, Peru, Chile, Canada and Mexico are expected to return for the training.

The TPP currently is being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations — Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

The RCEP is negotiated by all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, in addition to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Taiwan has reiterated its desire to join the two trade blocs so that the country will not be marginalized amid the region's economic integration.

As part of the efforts to achieve this goal, Taiwan will continue to push for trade liberalization and communicate with the public on the necessity of economic reform, while seeking support from other countries for Taiwan's bid, the Cabinet said.

The government has set a goal of completing the country's TPP preparations by July, it added.

A day earlier, President Ma also said "Taiwan will not be absent and cannot be marginalized" in the wave of regional integration.

The TPP negotiating countries account for 36 percent of Taiwan's trade, and the RCEP countries 57 percent, Ma added.

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