(AFP) – Jan 26, 2012
TAIPEI — Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou said a free trade area would be set up soon in the south, as the government begins moves to joining a trans-Pacific free trade alliance.
"In order to follow the trend of regional economic integration, the government has been pushing hard for free trade in the hope that Taiwan can join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 10 years," Ma said Wednesday while visiting southern Kaohsiung city.
Ma, who was re-elected earlier this month, was referring to a new regional trade pact within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
He said some free trade areas -- which allow the tax-free flow of capital and goods -- had to be set up on the island before the long-term goal of joining the TPP can be reached.
"The first of such a free trade area will be established in Kaohsiung," he said in a statement released by the Presidential Office.
The TPP is currently being negotiated by the United States as well as Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
And at the November APEC summit Canada, Japan and Mexico said they were also interested in joining.
China had also said it would "earnestly study" whether to seek membership in the TPP.
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