Tue, Dec 14, 2004 - Page 10 News List

MOEA studying China-ASEAN deal

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has started assessing the impact of China's trade pact with Southeast Asian countries and is seeking to devise business strategies for domestic industries.

In a bid to address the free trade agreement (FTA) inked between China and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in late November, the ministry has ordered various agencies to evaluate the possible effects on Taiwan, ministry officials said.

Given that Japan and South Korea are slated to begin FTA talks with ASEAN next year, while Australia, New Zealand and India have also shown a keen interest in doing so, Taiwan is set to become an outcast once countries in the region succeed in forming the world's largest trade bloc, with a population of 3 billion.

According to Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), Taiwan is left with the sole option of coping with the situation by using multi-lateral trade mechanisms under the framework of the WTO to break into the bloc.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) warned that Taiwan will face fiercer competition after "ASEAN plus one" has been set up.

Chen added that the China-ASEAN free trade pact will also benefit many Taiwan investors in the two regions and that this is the reason behind the government's efforts to forge FTAs with other countries.

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