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Taiwan beefs up regional defences with 2nd phase of free trade zone

Reuters | Sun Dec 15, 2013

Taiwan beefs up regional defences with 2nd phase of free trade zone

TAIPEI — Taiwan’s cabinet said it expects the second phase of its new free-trade zone to generate T$21 billion ($709 million) in private investment and create 13,000 jobs next year, as the export-driven economy steps up efforts to compete globally.

The zone, which focuses largely on investment, educational and financial services, will help Taiwan counter the threat of being marginalised in the wake of trade deals being negotiated by major economies and regional Asian neighbours.

In a statement late on Sunday, Taiwan’s cabinet pointed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), between ASEAN and its free trade partners, as risk to the island’s future competitiveness.

Taiwan kicked off the first phase of the zone earlier this year. Now it is entering the second phase, which is subject to approval from the Taiwanese legislature, which the cabinet said it hopes to secure next year, the statement said.

The zone is expected to generate T$30 billion and T$40 billion in revenues for banks and securities houses, respectively, over the next five years, it added.

Taiwan also plans to liberalise numerous aspects of its educational market, including regulations on the salaries of educators and foreign recruitment of students.

($1 = 29.6080 Taiwan dollars) (Reporting by Michael Gold and Faith Hung; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

 source: Reuters