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Taiwan seeks regional ties with S'pore's help

TAIPEI -- Taiwan will seek the support of Singapore in its efforts to join regional economic integration initiatives, Taiwan's representative to Singapore said yesterday.

In a report to the Legislative Yuan, Hsieh Fa-ta said the Taiwan Singapore economic cooperation agreement signed Nov. 7, officially called the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), is a milestone in relations between the two countries.

On the basis of the ASTEP, Taiwan will seek Singapore's support for its bids to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Hsieh said.

Singapore is one of the 12 negotiation partners of the U.S.-led TPP and is also a member of the RCEP, another free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their FTA partners, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Hsieh said his office will closely monitor the developments in an upcoming meeting of TPP trade ministers slated to take place Dec. 7 in Singapore.

On the latest food scandal involving Taiwan-produced edible oils, he said the incident has had only limited impact on sales of Taiwanese food products in Singapore, with a marginal 4 percent decrease in sales seen at a recent Taiwan food fair held by a major Singaporean supermarket.

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