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ECFA to help with Taiwan’s FTA efforts: Japanese expert

Focus Taiwan News Channel

ECFA to help with Taiwan’s FTA efforts: Japanese expert

26 August 2010

By Mike Chang and Y.L. Kao

Tokyo, Aug. 26 (CNA) The economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) Taiwan signed with China in June is expected to spur interest among other countries in the region in forging free trade agreements (FTAs) with Taiwan, a former Japanese economics official said in an article published Thursday in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a Japanese daily.

The ECFA will help strengthen economic relations and improve bilateral ties between Taiwan and China, said Japan Economic Foundation Chairman Noboru Hatakeyama, who is also a former official of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and a former director-general of the Japan External Trade Organization.

The article states that the ECFA’s signing will help open the way for negotiations on FTAs between Taiwan and other countries, which have previously been concerned that doing so would offend Beijing.

It also said that the cross-strait economic pact will likely accelerate the establishment of FTAs in East Asia.

According to the article, out of concern that the ECFA’s signing could undermine its competitiveness, South Korea began seeking a FTA with China during a summit between leaders of the two countries in June.

Meanwhile, Japan has taken part in a first round of FTA talks among representatives from the industrial, academic and government sectors from Japan, China and South Korea in May and has set 2012 as a goal for completing FTA deals.

However, the country is lagging behind South Korea in its FTA negotiations with China, according to the article.