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Failure to pass trade agreement impedes signing of accords: bank

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Failure to pass the cross-strait service trade agreement in the Legislature will impede Taiwan's subsequent signing of goods trade agreement with mainland China, which is likely to yield a greater impact on Taiwan's economy, Merrill Lynch analysts said yesterday.

Merrill Lynch recently held an investment forum in Taipei, inviting over 170 entrepreneurs and about 300 institutional investor representatives. Over 3,000 meetings were held to provide attendants with the latest industrial trend and company information.

Merrill Lynch held a press conference yesterday, with Dan Heyler (何浩銘), head of Pacific Rim semiconductor research, Robert Cheng (鄭勝榮), the head of research in Taiwan, and Katherine Hu (胡傳祥), a Taiwan-based Merrill Lynch stock analyst, leading the presentation.

The cross-strait service trade agreement is currently bogged down in the Legislature. According to Hu, failure to pass the agreement does not work in Taiwan's favor.

South Korea is set to ink a free trade agreement with mainland China this year. However, many of Taiwan's products of exports overlap with those exported by South Korea, such as panels, petrochemical products, and machineries.

Therefore, Taiwan needs to sign the goods trade agreement with mainland China as quickly as possible. However, failure to pass the service trade agreement will impede the negotiation and signing of the goods trade agreement, Hu said.

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