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Taiwan ready to be free trade partner of US: Vice Minister

Central News Agency, Taiwan


25 May 2005

Washington, D. C., May 25 (CNA) The formation of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and the United States will not only create a win-win situation for both, but also will benefit the U.S. by enhancing its presence in other countries, including China, a visiting Taiwan official said Tuesday.

Chen Ruey-lung, vice minister of economic affairs, made the comment while giving a keynote speech at a seminar on Taiwan-U.S. free trade prospects. Citing a study carried out by the United States International Trade Commission, Chen said that a Taiwan-U.S. FTA would help the U.S. increase its exports to Taiwan by US$3.4 billion per year and create robust business opportunities for the U.S. service, financial and automobile industries.

Taiwan can also serve as a springboard for the U.S. to tap into other Asian markets using Taiwan’s extensive trade networks in the region, including China, to cement is own business base, Chen said, noting that Taiwan contributes some 12 percent to China’s total inbound shipments. The development experience of Taiwan’s small businesses in China is also a valuable lesson for U.S. companies, he added. That will push China to continue its reforms, creating a situation that will be beneficial to the U.S. over the long term, he said.

Although the U.S. used to complain about Taiwan’s poor protection of U.S. intellectual property rights and its medicine pricing system and telecommunications market, he said, the America Chamber of Commerce in Taipei has given the thumbs-up to Taiwan’s improvements in recent years.

Taiwan has actually met the six requirements outlined by the U.S. General Accounting Office for becoming a free trade partner of the U.S., he said, adding that 14 U.S. states have passed resolutions in favor of an FTA between the two countries. (By Jorge Liu and Flor Wang)