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President Ma meets ROC delegation to 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting

President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of November 3 with the delegation from the ROC that would attend the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM). The president thanked former Vice President Vincent C. Siew (蕭萬長), his envoy and the delegation leader, and called on the delegation to take advantage of the AELM to show the international community Taiwan's sincere intent to participate in regional economic integration via the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In remarks, President Ma stated that former Vice President Siew will represent the ROC for the sixth time at the AELM, and is quite familiar with the framework and objectives of the event. The former vice president, said the president, attended the 21st AELM last year in Bali, Indonesia, where he held bilateral discussions with economic leaders from mainland China, the United States, Japan, and Singapore, Taiwan's major trading partners. He also shared the experience of Taiwan's small- and medium-sized enterprises, which was well-received by representatives at the meetings, President Ma commented, adding that former Vice President Siew's efforts have boosted Taiwan's visibility at APEC. This proves that Taiwan benefits greatly from taking part in these types of international activities, said the president.
President Ma pointed out that the three major topics of this year's AELM will be "advancing regional economic integration," "promoting economic reform and innovative development," and "bridging gaps in infrastructure investment and comprehensive connectivity," which share many similarities with Taiwan's own economic development objectives. In particular, he noted, in his New Year's address this year he proclaimed that 2014 would be the "year of Taiwan's economic breakthrough." Even though it is unlikely that substantive progress will be seen before the end of this year in Taiwan's efforts to join the TPP and the RCEP, the president said he still hopes that Taiwan will express through APEC its sincere intent to join these sorts of economic alliances.
As for Taiwan's achievements in external trade cooperation, President Ma noted, Taiwan signed the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with mainland China four years ago, and then signed the Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Investment Arrangement three years ago. The government has also launched the Taiwan-Japan Industrial Collaboration Bridging Project to boost bilateral trade and economic ties, he said. Even more important, President Ma said, Taiwan in July and November of last year signed the ANZTEC economic cooperation agreement with New Zealand and the ASTEP economic partnership agreement with Singapore, the first two agreements of this type that Taiwan has signed with developed nations which are also members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the TPP, and the RCEP. The significance of signing these two high-quality economic cooperation agreements cannot be ignored, he said. The president remarked that foreign media published frequent articles on these matters, which further enabled the international community to gain a deeper understanding of Taiwan's sincere intent to participate in regional economic integration.
In discussing relations between Taiwan and mainland China, President Ma stated that the two sides are still negotiating some agreements, and have signed one that has not yet been approved by the Legislative Yuan here. The president said that former Vice President Siew will have an opportunity to meet with leaders from mainland China when he attends the meetings, and expressed hope that Mr. Siew can make the mainland authorities understand that Taiwan continues to pursue peace between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on the "1992 Consensus," whereby each side acknowledges the existence of "one China" but maintains its own interpretation of what that means. Taiwan has not changed its stance on this, he said. At the same time, Taiwan hopes to continue strengthening opportunities for cross-strait cooperation, the president stated.
Former Vice President Siew then delivered remarks, noting that this marks the second time that mainland China has hosted the AELM, having hosted it for the first time in 2001. He pointed out that mainland China has become the world's second largest economy and is Taiwan's largest trading partner. In the future, he remarked, it may even surpass the United States to become the world's largest economy, adding that the economic power and influence of mainland China now is in an entirely different league from 13 years ago.
In explaining his foremost objective for this trip, former Vice President Siew said that only by keeping its economic and trade practices in line with those of the international community can Taiwan maintain the economic and trade ties that it has established over the years with other countries and build up competitive advantages. Taiwan therefore wants to take advantage of the upcoming meetings to put itself in a stronger position to take part in the process of regional economic integration. Taiwan also hopes to be included in the TPP and the RCEP negotiations as soon as possible, he said.
Former Vice President Siew noted that the center of gravity in global economic and trade ties is gradually moving eastward, and that nations throughout the world continue to move into Southeast Asia in order to expand their economic interests. Taiwanese business, he said, have for many years established strong roots in the ASEAN nations. Taiwanese firms invest large amounts in the ASEAN region, which constitutes an important manufacturing base for these firms, he stated. With the rise of the middle class in this region, consumption and domestic demand will continue to expand, and the ROC government should continue to work closely together with industry to develop markets there, he said. The former vice president mentioned that technology and capital for infrastructure projects is one way that Taiwan can share its experiences with these nations to further deepen bilateral economic and trade relationships.
Besides Former Vice President Siew, other members of the ROC delegation included advisors Woody Tyzz-jiun Duh (杜紫軍), Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), Wang Yu-Chi (王郁琦), Chan Chi-shean (詹啟賢), Chan Hou-Sheng (詹火生), Liu Da-Nien (劉大年), Kao Lang (高朗), Leslie Koo (辜成允), Yu-Lon Chiao (焦佑倫). Business community representatives in the delegation included Cathay Financial Holdings Chairman Hong-Tu Tsai (蔡宏圖), MiTAC-SYNNEX Group Chairman Matthew F.C. Miao (苗豐強), and HTC and VIA Technologies Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅).
【Source: Office of the President】