Thu, Apr 09, 2009 - Page 12 News List

ECCT calls for more aggressive Taiwan

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan should be more aggressive in enhancing trade with Europe after bilateral trade saw a significant drop in January, the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT) said yesterday.

Hurt by the global downturn, the country’s exports to the EU contracted for the fourth consecutive month to a 32.8 percent year-on-year drop in January while EU exports to Taiwan fell 51 percent during the same period, the chamber’s statistics showed.

EU investment in Taiwan, meanwhile, dropped about 73 percent year-on-year to US$1.9 billion last year, the chamber said.

Taiwan should redouble its efforts in pushing for Trade Enhancement Measures with the EU, in lieu of which Taiwan would risk losing its global competitiveness after an EU-South Korea free-trade agreement is activated, ECCT chairman Philippe Pellegrin said yesterday.

It reaffirmed its support for an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China, which it said would create opportunities for local and European firms.

The chamber said the nation’s 20 percent withholding tax on income from outsourced services had prompted European businesses to consider shutting down their local operations.

The government should also refrain from imposing additional taxes on luxury goods, which would go counter to its goal of spurring domestic consumption.

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