A senior US official said Friday that Washington
supports Taiwan's bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
trading bloc, as long as it agrees to liberalize trade.
Robert Menendez, chairman of the US Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations, flew from Japan to Taiwan late Thursday as part of a trip to Asia to discuss economic and security issues with countries in the region.
At a lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, Menendez stressed that Taiwan must remove investment barriers to increase the degree of economic freedom if it is to join the TPP, a regional trading bloc driven by the US.
"I also support Taiwan's future accession efforts in a TPP provided that Taiwan is willing to support a high-standard, comprehensive agreement that addresses many issues, including labour environment, currency manipulation and intellectual property rights as critical elements of it," Menendez said in a speech on the future of US-Taiwan relations.
Menendez said Taiwan and the US had strengthened their relationship through moves such as Taiwan's entry into the US visa waiver programme, continued security cooperation, and US legislation backing Taiwan's participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization as an observer.
Menendez met with Taiwan's Vice-President Wu Den-yih and other government officials Friday and will head for South Korea Saturday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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