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Economics minister urges support for trade pact with China
Central News Agency
2014-08-30 10:34 PM
Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun renewed the government's call for public support in efforts to sign a merchandise trade agreement with China Saturday, warning that failing to do so could affect Taiwan's development for the next decade. In an interview with GTV, Duh disclosed that "more than one country" had planned to negotiate economic pacts with Taiwan early this year, but the plans did not move forward after China stepped in and told them "the timing is not right." He stressed that the main purpose of trade negotiations with China is opening a path to the rest of the world rather than becoming more dependent on the China market. Since Taiwan signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China in 2010, Taiwan's economic dependence on its neighbor has actually decreased, he said. Taiwan has hoped for China's support in bids to participate in regional economic integration, but Beijing has chosen to defer the issue until after follow-up agreements under ECFA are completed. The trade-in-services pact Taipei and Beijing signed in 2013 has so far not been ratified by the Legislative Yuan due to obstruction by the Democratic Progressive Party-led opposition and extended protests that erupted in March. The incident has led Beijing to suspend the merchandise trade negotiations with Taiwan up until recently. With the negotiations expected to resume in September, Duh said he hopes the agreement could be signed "not too late," referring to the impending signing of a China-South Korea free trade agreement which is likely to be concluded by the end of this year. He said both his ministry and Taiwan's business sector are "very anxious" because the China-South Korea FTA would threaten 20 percent of Taiwan's exports to China and cause Taiwan to lose 5 percent of its market share on the mainland. (By Wu Ching-chun and Y.F. Low)
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