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Premier warns of 'unprecedented' challenge if pact not enacted
Central News Agency
2014-04-02 10:46 PM
Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah Wednesday used the example of Taiwan's longtime trade rival South Korea to warn of dire consequences if the trade-in-services pact with China fails to clear the Legislature. Speaking at a Cabinet task force meeting, Jiang said that South Korea has enacted nine agreements covering trade with 47 countries, while Taiwan has currently only signed economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand. He did not however include Taiwan's agreements with Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua or El Salvador -- all of which have diplomatic ties with Taiwan -- or the Taiwan-China Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in the list. "There is no time for Taiwan to wait," the premier said, according to a press release issued after the meeting. "The nation needs to come to a consensus to pass the services pact." Jiang labeled 2014 a crucial year for the nation's economic development and the year to push for regional economic integration. But he warned those plans will be stalled if the services pact and a planned trade-in-merchandise pact are not passed, a setback he said could cause "unprecedented, dire challenges" and cost Taiwan US$16.8 billion in foreign trade if a trilateral China-Japan-South Korea FTA goes into effect first. The premier said that in that scenario, data from the state-backed Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research indicates that Taiwan's real GDP would drop 1.15 percent, meaning US$4.55 billion. Social resources would fall by US$6.19 billion, real total exports would slide 2.75 percent or US$7.76 billion, and real imports would plummet by 4 percent, or US$9.1 billion, he said. (By Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)
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