Ex-VP urges Taiwan to prove commitment to trade with action
Central News Agency
2014-04-10 11:20 PM
Boao, China, April 10 (CNA) Former Vice President Vincent Siew said Thursday that it is time for the Taiwanese to embrace economic liberalization and integration to prove to the world Taiwan's commitment to opening up.

Speaking from Boao on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, Siew said that many asked him after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum last year whether Taiwan was really ready for integrating into the regional economy, an apparent rebuke of Taiwan's relative slow pursuit of free trade agreements.

Siew, who is in the coastal town for the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, met earlier in the day with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during which Taiwan's delegate to the conference stressed Taiwan's goal of joining trade blocs such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Taiwan will inevitably face marginalization if it does not join the 16 economies negotiating the RCEP, which is expected to start benefiting members in two years.

He noted that the 16 countries of the RCEP, which includes China and 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, make up 58.5 percent of Taiwan's external trade.

Trade negotiations mean both giving and taking, but signatories cannot just back away from talks when they realize they have to give, he said, calling this a rule for all international negotiations.

It is the norm for countries pursuing integration to liberalize trade, reduce barriers for investment and loosen regulations, said Siew. His comments came as controversy continues in Taiwan over a trade-in-services pact with China. Student protesters concerned with the pact and its impacts on Taiwan occupied the Legislature in Taipei beginning March 18 until retreating from the parliamentary building Thursday night. (By Eva Feng and Scully Hsiao)

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