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TPP, RCEP seminars for diplomats set to be held February 17-20: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said a series of seminars to help Taiwanese diplomats prepare for negotiations on joining two regional economic partnerships will be held from Feb. 17 to 20 in Taiwan.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) told local media yesterday that Taiwan's representatives in two regional economic blocs will all return home to help prepare for negotiations to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The seminars will be held from Feb. 17 and 18 while the homecoming diplomats will spend the rest of their time from Feb. 19 to 20 visiting several of the nation's major enterprises and sites that will become the nation's free trade economic zones in the future, Kao said.

These seminars and tours are meant to help these diplomats to better understand the roadmap for Taiwan's participation in the two economic groups, so that they can talk with their stationed cities or countries about the importance for Taiwan in joining the TPP and RCEP, the spokeswoman added.

Kao did not disclose more details on how many diplomats will be coming back to Taiwan for the seminars.

  Commenting on the issue Wednesday, President Ma Ying-jeou said 28 diplomats will take part in the series of seminars.

According to local media reports, 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.

  Meanwhile, the Presidential Office yesterday disclosed that President Ma is scheduled to deliver an address at the upcoming seminars to show his administration's determination to join the two trade blocs.

TPP Preparations by July

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

  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.

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