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80% of American businesses back Taiwan's bid to join TPP: survey

TAIPEI--Some 80 percent of American business leaders in Taiwan support the government's intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed U.S.-led Pacific free trade area, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.

Another 65 percent of the respondents to the 2014 Business Climate Survey, conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei, said they believe Taiwan will be able to meet the high standards of the pact.

More than half of the respondents also urged the Taiwan and U.S. governments to enter into a bilateral investment agreement because the lack of such a deal puts their businesses at a disadvantage.

AmCham Chairman Thomas Fann noted that the Taiwan government appears to be increasingly aware of the importance of the country's gaining membership of the TPP and is accelerating its efforts to prepare Taiwan for entry.

“If these initiatives can be carried out expeditiously, I am confident that the 2015 Business Climate Survey will reflect a strong increase in optimism among foreign investors in Taiwan's economic outlook and the prospects for their businesses,” Fann told a press conference.

“We cannot put all our eggs in one basket. Taiwan should step into the global community,” he said.

The executives surveyed, meanwhile, generally expressed satisfaction with the impact of the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 between Taiwan and China on both Taiwan and their businesses.

They described a pending cross-Taiwan Strait services agreement as “a win-win development” for both Taiwan and China, according to the survey.

The study also found that 48 percent of the respondents plan to increase their investments in Taiwan in the coming years, while 41 percent plan to increase their employment levels.

The survey, conducted last November and December, was open to voting representatives of the AmCham Taipei member companies. A total of 220 questionnaires were submitted, with a 52 percent response rate.

Founded in 1951, AmCham Taipei has more than 1,000 members representing over 500 companies and 27 committees advocating various industry interests.

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