Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Premier Yu calls for more FTAs during NY stopover

CNA , MANAGUA AND NEW YORK

Premier Yu Shyi-kun encouraged local enterprises Saturday to invest in Central American countries that continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, saying this will help the government maintain the ties.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with reporters after concluding a visit to the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua, Yu said that because of these countries' close proximity to the North American market and the export preferences granted to them by the US, investing in Central America can be profitable.

Taiwan is hoping to sign more free trade agreements (FTA) with countries in the region, he said. Taiwan secured an FTA with Panama last year.

FTAs give businesses with preferential tax and tariff treatment on raw-material transport and semi-manufactured products.

On Yu's stopover in New York, he mentioned that he was eager to sign an FTA with the US.

Addressing a dinner party hosted by Taiwanese expatriates, Yu said that Taiwan hopes to sign FTA's with its trading partners. An FTA with the US is key, because many countries are taking the US as their guide when negotiating such agreements with Taiwan, he said.

Yu urged Taiwanese expatriates in the US to join efforts to make the US administration and Congress aware of Taiwan's position on FTAs.

The premier also called on the US to recognize Taiwan's importance and extend more support.

During the same event in New York, William Brown, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, praised Taiwan for its progress in a range of areas.

Brown said he shares Yu's views and promised to support Taiwan's efforts.

Yu arrived in New York earlier that day for a three-day transit stopover on his way back to Taiwan. He is scheduled to leave New York on Aug. 23.

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