Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 11 News List

TAITRA chief downplays ‘Chaiwan’ threat to S Korea

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan and South Korea have long been important trade partners and the so-called “Chaiwan” phenomenon will not necessarily pose a threat to South Korea’s economy, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) chairman Wang Chih-kang (王志剛) said yesterday.

“Since the economies of Taiwan and South Korea are complementary ... and the so-called ‘Chaiwan’ threat felt by South Koreans can be minimized or even eliminated through positive exchanges between Taiwan and South Korea,” Wang said at a press conference after attending the 34th joint meeting between the Taipei-based Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association (CIECA) and the Federation of Korea Industries (FKI).

Wang serves concurrently as chairman of CEICA.

The “Chaiwan” threat, a term coined recently by combining the names of China and Taiwan, refers to a trade threat that is perceived by South Korea and other economies as a result of the closer economic cooperation between China and Taiwan in the past year.

These economies’ fear of being marginalized escalated recently with China’s mass purchase of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors from Taiwan under a project to stimulate domestic demand by encouraging rural residents to buy home electronics such as LCD TV sets, laundry machines and refrigerators.

Cross-strait relations have been improving and several agreements have been reached between the two sides since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to power in May last year.

Since then, China has sent several procurement missions to purchase billions of New Taiwan dollars in goods, especially Taiwan-made LCD monitors.

China’s orders of Taiwan-made LCD monitors has pushed Taiwan into the spot held by South Korea as the top global supplier of LCD monitors.

Wang said China is Taiwan’s largest external market, absorbing 40 percent of its exports, and that it is natural for Taiwan to take advantage of China’s market stimulus measures to expand its market share there.

“I believe that the ‘Chaiwan’ threat to South Korea could be eliminated if both Taiwan and South Korea make better use of their complementary partnership and if they increase economic exchanges between them,” Wang said.

The discussions in the CIECA-FKI meeting mainly focused on the current economic state of the two countries, cross-Taiwan Strait relations and bilateral cooperation in the fields of green energy, information and communications technology and medical tourism, CIECA said.

Since 1967, CIECA and FKI have been taking turns organizing the event to promote bilateral commercial and trade cooperation.

During his stay in Seoul, Wang will also attend the 16th joint meeting between TAITRA and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency today.

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