The legislature’s Economics Committee yesterday passed a resolution demanding the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) repatriate government officials stationed abroad who fail to help the nation achieve a 5 percent annual growth rate in bilateral foreign trade for two consecutive years.
The resolution, initiated by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators, said the bureau should include bilateral trade growth in its personnel evaluations and be more aggressive in promoting trade relations.
“South Korea and Singapore have already set goals for not only annual bilateral trade growth, but also for the pace of expansion and number of trade cases dealt with by their government officials,” KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said at the committee meeting.
Ting said he met with several foreign diplomats at a forum recently and was told that their countries have demanded they increase foreign trade by 5 percent every year and aim to achieve an annual growth rate of at least 5 percent in bilateral trade.
“Foreign diplomats are under huge pressure, but the lives of our officials do not seem that hard amid declining exports,” he said. “If our officials cannot help the country achieve the same growth rate for at least two consecutive years during their four-year term, shouldn’t the BOFT consider personnel adjustments?”
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Liang (梁國新) disagreed with Ting, saying that each country is unique and there should not be just one standard for trade officials stationed abroad.
Ting responded that once the rule was implemented, officials would be forced to come up with solutions.
DPP Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) agreed with Ting.
“We can’t always live in our comfort zone,” Su said. “Regardless of the global economy or special market conditions, our exports are contracting and government officials should take full responsibility.”
BOFT Deputy Director-General Chang Chun-fu (張俊福) said the bureau would respect the committee’s decisions.