Focus Taiwan News Channel
Taiwan trying to secure FTAs with U.S., EU: president
21 May 2013
By Scully Hsiao
Taipei, May 21 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has said that his administration has been working toward signing free trade deals with the United States and the European Union, a development that sock manufacturers in Changhua County are eager to see.
In a meeting with sock makers in the county’s Shetou Township on May 11, Ma said his government has lobbied the European Parliament to pass resolutions that would push the EU to sign an economic cooperation agreement with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Taiwan plans to pursue follow-up agreements to the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the U.S. and gradually work toward a free trade agreement, Ma said, in response to calls for such deals by the sock makers at the meeting.
Taiwan’s special international circumstances make it difficult to secure FTAs with the U.S. and the EU, the president said, adding that such deals come with certain responsibilities.
"We have to be prepared to open up (our trade), as we demand the same of countries who sign free trade deals with us," Ma said.
He urged manufacturers to improve the quality of their products in preparation for competition from other countries, including China, which signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with Taiwan in 2010.
Changhua County Magistrate Cho Po-yuan, who was also at the meeting, responded to the demands of local manufacturers by mentioning some of the government’s relevant efforts and achievements to date.
Cho said that the government has built a sock industry park in Shetou that is now fully occupied by registered businesses that are constructing factories there.
The government took action on that project in response to a proposal by sock manufacturers during a similar visit to Shetou by Ma in 2007, during his first presidential campaign, to gain an understanding of the needs of the manufacturers, Cho said.
At a meeting of economics officials and Shetou manufacturers on April 24, a list of 17 demands and suggestions was put forward, Cho said, adding that the government has been striving to meet those demands.