Ma vows trade liberalization in second term
By Grace Soong ,The China PostPresident Ma Ying-jeou vowed to further enhance Taiwan's trade liberalization in the upcoming four years by signing various international trade pacts. He made the remarks at the 2012 Europe Day dinner for the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT, 台北市歐洲商務協會) yesterday evening.
May 18, 2012, 12:24 am TWN
Congratulating the European Union as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this month, the president attended the ECCT gathering where European businesses celebrated their friendship and cooperation with the Taiwanese government and the local business community.
The EU is Taiwan's fourth biggest trade partner, from whom Taiwan has learned lessons such as maintaining peace in cross-strait relations, in addition to the economic benefits Taiwan has earned over the years.
The next step the government would like to take in its relationship with the EU is to explore the feasibility of signing further economic cooperation agreements with the EU, to which ECCT Chairman Chris James also expressed encouragement and support.
Taiwan would like to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in eight years, Ma said, pointing out that the government is currently laying foundations for taking part in the pact. Taiwan is preparing to open up its markets further, and has taken steps toward that goal by signing trade accords with various nations, such as the pact for the liberalization, promotion and protection of investments with Japan, and the upcoming economic cooperation agreement with New Zealand.
Ma also expressed appreciation to the EU for supporting Taiwan in its participation in international organizations such as the 2011 World Health Assembly, and for granting Taiwan visa-free status in January last year.
Statistics from March 2011-2012 indicated that without the requirement of a visa, the number of Taiwanese visitors to Europe has increased by 47 percent. The number of youths taking working holiday trips to Germany and the UK has also greatly increased, Ma said.
Moving Toward a Sustainable Taiwan
The ECCT chairman voiced challenges that the chamber believes Taiwan is facing: to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness among global economies, to deal with demographic changes, and to take a path toward sustainable economic development.
The government should take initiatives in reducing Taiwan's carbon emissions, James said, acknowledging the government's commitment based on Ma's campaign promises.
James also urged the government to further make use of solutions offered by European technology and innovation to help industries lower carbon emissions.
Head of the European Economic and Trade Office Frederic Laplanche, center, shakes hands with European Chamber of Commerce Taipei Chairman Chris James, right, beside President Ma ...