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Visiting Japanese legislators support Taiwan's bid for participation in TPP

TAIPEI--Visiting Japanese lawmakers voiced their support for Taiwan's participation in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc at an international conference in Taipei Tuesday that was also attended by counterparts from Taiwan and the United States.

The TPP, which is being negotiated among 12 countries, is not just a trade agreement, as it also involves shared values such as the respect of free markets, rule of law, intellectual property rights and human rights, said Japanese lawmaker Keisuke Suzuki of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Taiwan should be in the TPP, he said at a session of the one-day Taiwan-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue forum.

The U.S.-led TPP is currently being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 other countries — Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

The 12 countries are trying to finish the first round of negotiations, and Suzuki described the negotiations as “tough.”

But he voiced support for Taiwan's participation, saying that “we certainly want Taiwan to get into the TPP negotiations in the second stage.”

On the issue of bilateral trade relations between Taiwan and Japan, he said progress on an economic partnership agreement is likely to be seen in the coming years.

Taku Otsuka, another member of Japan's House of Representatives attending the conference, also voiced support for Taiwan's TPP bid.

U.S. support for Taiwan's participation in the TPP is vital and its participation also serves in the interests of Washington, said Otsuka, an LDP member.

Speaking during the session, Taiwanese lawmaker Chiang Chi-chen of the ruling Kuomintang said Taiwan should not be excluded from the TPP, while urging the three countries to work together in pushing for Taiwan's TPP bid.

Also attending the conference was U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman of the Republican Party, who called for increased cooperation among Taiwan, Japan and the U.S.

Now in its fourth year, the forum was attended by more than 20 scholars from Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Australia, South Korea and the U.S., who will discuss issues of security and regional economic integration.

Commissioned by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conference was co-organized by Taipei's Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo.

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