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'Taiwan means business' with regard to trade: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that his administration has ramped up its efforts to launch the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) and is adamant about joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Ma said that his administration would like foreign businesses in Taiwan to know that “Taiwan means business.”

The president made the comments during the Kuomintang's (KMT) weekly Central Standing Committee meeting in which Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) gave a report on policies regarding the island's FEPZs.

The Executive Yuan and the CEPD have devised a strategy in order to get Taiwan to join the TPP and RCEP as soon as possible and to continue launching the FEPZs in Taiwan, Ma said.

The president said that global competition is very brutal, and once a nation is marginalized it will be very difficult for it to reverse its predicament, stressing the importance for Taiwan to carry out a global-oriented economic strategy.

Ma said that before he launched his presidential campaign in 2007, which was before he had decided on his running mate, he spoke at length with then-soon-to-be vice presidential candidate Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) about Taiwan's economic prospects.

The president said that both he and Siew agreed that in the long run, Taiwan had to transition toward a free market economy and carry out free trade; otherwise, it would not be able to compete with Singapore, Hong Kong and others.

“This is an international economic strategy of vital importance to Taiwan. We need to carry it out and push it forward,” Ma said, adding that it is by doing so that Taiwan will be able to blaze a trail amid fierce competition.

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