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TEEMA chairman lauds cross-strait service pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan --The service trade agreement (STA) signed between Taiwan and China in late June will bring Taiwan unlimited business opportunities, as the island will play an intermediary role between mainland China and international service markets, a Taiwanese business tycoon said yesterday.

Guo Tai-chiang, chairman of the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association (TEEMA), made the remarks while speaking to reporters in the wake of the opening ceremony of the KE Show 2013 held at the Huaqiao International Service Business Park. The three-day show, dedicated to the latest electronic and electrical products, is jointly organized by TEEMA and the People's Government of Kunshan City.

Taiwan, engaged in business internationalization much earlier than mainland China, has accumulated abundant experience in the internationalization of service operations and boasted newer service concepts than the mainland, and therefore can serve as an intermediary between the mainland and international service markets and bring new management concepts to the service sector in China, Guo said.

He said that in Taiwan, some underprivileged industries might be impacted after the service trade agreement is put into practice, but the government can work harder to help such industries with upgrading and transforming in order to survive.

Guo continued that the government should reinforce publicity of the contents and benefits of the said agreement, so as to allay doubts from various service sectors.

Also yesterday, Chen Deming, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), said Taiwan and mainland China should join hands to prevent marginalization in the integration of global trade markets.

Chen had a tour of the KE show in the company of Guo and other ranking industry executives yesterday morning, and showed significant interest in LEDs (light-emitting diodes), batteries, energy conservation and carbon emission reduction technologies.

Chen called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to jointly generate production capacity, especially in the field of LEDs.

But Guo stressed that it's more important for Taiwan and China to jointly create markets than to generate production capacity. In this regard, he continued, if both sides can join forces to develop more LED application markets, the LED industry across the strait will benefit a lot as a result.

As LEDs are not on the early-harvest list under the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement enjoying preferential tariffs on shipments to mainland China, Taiwan faces difficulty in winning a slice of the market for LED bidding projects launched by the mainland Chinese government, with the projects virtually monopolized by Chinese state-run enterprises, according to Guo.

Accordingly, Guo called for Chinese state-run enterprises to cooperate with Taiwanese firms to bid for China's government projects, adding that his association will give a helping hand in this regard.

On another front, Guo said that Taiwan has depended on imports for almost all the energy products needed, but some Chinese state-run enterprises can supply low-cost energy products to Taiwan.

Accordingly, Guo said that both Taipei's Straits Exchange Foundation and the ARATS haven't touched on the energy cooperation issue, and he suggested that both parties can discuss the issue in their future talks.

When asked whether construction of Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant can be suspended if both sides of the Taiwan Strait can develop energy resources, Guo said he cannot answer the question because he's not an energy expert.

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