Thu, May 22, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan is headed in right direction, John Naisbitt says

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Well-known futurist John Naisbitt said yesterday that Taiwan should make China a trade partner to meet opportunities presented by a rising Asian economy, adding that the nation appeared to be headed in this direction, with new President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) pledge to improve relations with Beijing.

Naisbitt, author of the bestsellers Megatrends and Megatrends 2000, spoke on Taiwan’s future yesterday — less than a year after his talks with Ma about future opportunities for Taiwan during his first visit to Taipei last summer.

“Taiwan should really and truly join the world,” said the US writer in the area of futures studies.

“Joining the world means making the mainland your best friend,” Naisbitt said.

That is built on the new world economic order, with Asia rising and Europe declining, Naisbitt said, adding that joining the world also meant participating in global economic integration and in business connections between companies, business sectors and countries.

The government should nurture a free environment and offer incentives to entrepreneurs instead of giving them formulas, he said.

“It seems to me that [Taiwan] is going towards [this] direction,” Naisbitt said.

Taiwan is opening up to Chinese tourists, property developers and scrapping restrictions on Chinese investments, as well as resuming negotiations with Beijing, Naisbitt said, citing Ma’s public speeches recently.

He was also invited to attend Ma’s inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

Naisbitt said more synergies between Taiwan and China still needed to be explored, but did not elaborate when asked.

Separately, Moody’s Economy.com said yesterday “there were no surprises delivered in Ma’s first speech as president.”

Ma struck a perfect balance in his carefully crafted inauguration speech, promoting healthier relations with China without upsetting the anti-unification population in Taiwan, Sherman Chan and Matt Robinson, two Sydney-based economists at Moody’s, said in a press release.

Investors who hoped to hear more pro-growth policies were left disappointed, they said.

Weaker sentiment was reflected in the retreat of the stock market yesterday, which had been one of the best performers in the world thus far this year, they said.

“They should be pleased that their new leader made use of his widely followed speech as an opportunity to indirectly boost progress in building stronger economic ties with China,” the economists said.

Taiwan’s short to medium-term outlook is upbeat, thanks to the pro-growth stance of the new president who has taken every chance to improve relations with China, opening the door to increased cross-strait business opportunities, Moody’s Economy.com said.

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