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Visiting US congressman backs Taiwan's TPP bid

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A visiting United States congressional delegation yesterday voiced their support for Taiwan's bid to join the Trans-Pacific partnership (TPP), a U.S.-led economic agreement in the Asian Pacific region.

Noting that the TPP is an important issue, Representative Edward Royce (R-California), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and head of the eight-man delegation, voiced the delegation's support for Taiwan's bid to join the economic bloc.

“We want to make certain that Taiwan is included in that partnership because we think that is going to build the strength for Taiwan economically,” Royce said yesterday in Taipei.

Taiwan's inclusion to the partnership could also further integrate the nation into the world economy, he told Taiwanese reporters during his visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) headquarters in Taipei yesterday afternoon.

The delegation arrived in Taipei on Tuesday for a three-day visit as part of a larger visit to East Asia, according to MOFA.

This trip is Royce's second visit to Taiwan since becoming Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Speaking to media yesterday at MOFA, Royce said the delegation was in Taiwan to discuss how to deepen bilateral relations in terms of trade and investment issues.

Royce noted that he previously visited Kaohsiung during his last trip to the country in January 2013. This year, his delegation visited Tainan in order to meet with local manufacturing businesses.

Traveling across the country gives the delegation better knowledge on the importance of further addressing the Taipei-Washington trade issue, he noted.

“So we are going to be supportive in terms of inclusion of Taiwan in that agreement (TPP),” he added.

Taiwan government previously announced its plan to make related preparations to pitch for its TPP bid by July this year.

New Bill to Highlight TRA's Importance

Meanwhile, the U.S. congressman yesterday said the delegation would also like to highlight the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to mark the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the law.

“One of the things we want to do when we go back to the United States House of Representatives is put in a bill now on the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act and pass it again through the House of Representatives and put it in the law just to make the statement about the importance of a deep, lasting relationship between Taiwan and the United States,” he said.

Meanwhile, a diplomatic source yesterday said the U.S. congressional delegation also visited Tainan Air Base during their stay in the southern city on Wednesday.

The delegation was scheduled to depart Taipei later yesterday.

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