Agence France-Presse | 27th March 2008
Singapore not yet approached about FTA talks with Taiwan - government
SINGAPORE (Thomson Financial) — Singapore has noted Taiwan president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s plans to resume talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the city-state but said it has not been approached officially.
’MTI has noted Dr Ma Ying-jeou’s statement to the media,’ a spokesman with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement late Wednesday.
’However, the Ma administration has not approached Singapore officially on the issue of a FTA.’
Ma, who will be inaugurated on May 20, said after his landslide election victory last weekend that he wanted to restart free trade talks with Singapore.
Talks had started before 2000 but broke off under the administration of outgoing President Chen Shui-bian, partly under pressure from China and partly because of a dispute over how to refer to Taiwan.
Taiwan is registered at the World Trade Organisation under the designation ’Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu customs territory.’
The previous talks broke off
after Chen’s government said five years ago that it would not negotiate under any name except Taiwan or the island’s own official title, Republic of China.
Taiwan lost its UN seat to China in 1971 and is recognised diplomatically now by only 23 countries, mainly small and developing nations in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.
China still claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island, which split from the mainland in 1949, and strongly opposes any move that would indicate its independence.
Singapore has signed free trade pacts with several countries around the world, including the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Jordan and India.