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Economic Daily News: Can Taiwan follow South Korea's lead?
Central News Agency
2013-12-12 10:59 AM
South Korea recently made further progress in its efforts to take part in regional economic integration, marked by the conclusion of negotiations with Australia for a free trade agreement -- the 11th of its kind secured by the country so far. In South Korea's free trade talks with China, the two sides exchanged lists of goods for tariff reductions. And South Korea has indicated its intention to take part in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), following its participation in talks for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). All these achievements trace back to a series of legal reforms promoted by South Korea since 2000 with the goal of creating a friendlier business environment, attracting more foreign investment and strengthening market liberalization. By comparison, Taiwan appears to have lost its ambition to promote trade liberalization since gaining accession to the World Trade Organization in 2002. Taiwan even ignores suggestions by foreign companies from time to time. When Taiwan expressed its interest in joining the RCEP and TPP, we could not see its sincerity and willingness to work hard toward the goal of liberalization. In the government's latest effort to promote the free economic pilot zone project, for example, many conservative officials have opposed WTO-plus liberalization measures within the zones, concerned that Taiwan would be placed in an disadvantageous position if other countries do not reciprocate Taiwan's steps. This demonstrates Taiwan's shallow perception of liberalization issues. There is not much time left. We encourage Taiwan to take bold steps forward and bravely fight for its place in the international arena. (Editorial abstract -- Dec. 12, 2013) (By Y.F. Low)
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