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Taiwan calls for free trade pact with Japan

Saturday January 22, 2005

Taiwan calls for free trade pact with Japan

(Kyodo) - Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh called on Japan on Saturday to strike a bilateral free trade agreement, saying such a pact will be "very beneficial to Japan."

Ho, who is visiting Japan, made the remarks during a press conference.

In Asia, China, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are accelerating efforts to strike FTAs, leaving Taiwan lagging behind.

Japan has taken a cautious stance on launching FTA talks with Taiwan for fear it may anger Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

Ho said an FTA between Taiwan and Panama took effect last year and Taiwan is slated to sign ones with some other countries in Central and South America this year.

Taiwan "wants to push talks" with Japan and other countries in Asia to strike an FTA, based on its achievements with Central and South American nations, she said.

 source: Kyodo