Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 14 News List

INTERVIEW: ‘Snail’s-paced’ Taiwan must open up its economy

Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research’s WTO and RTA center researcher Wang Lee-rong has contributed to the nation’s signing of various global trade agreements for more than a decade, including the newly inked service trade agreement with China. During an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ reporter Helen Ku last week, Wang offered her responses to recent criticism over the cross-strait service trade agreement

The latest GFCI showed that South Korea’s Seoul, as of March this year, was ranked the world’s 9th most competitive financial zone, while Taipei fell far behind at 36th. We have to ask why Seoul’s ranking could hit as high as sixth-place last year, but Taipei’s could only improve to 19th at its best in 2009.

My reasoning is that South Korea has signed a number of trade agreements with other countries such as the US and the EU over the past few years, and that has helped South Korea liberalize its economy and pushed its government to ease regulation on the country’s financial sector and thereafter raising Seoul’s ranking in the GFCI.

Even China has voiced its intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while Taiwan is still moving at a snail’s pace.

Everyone should keep in mind that Taiwan’s economy is limited by its small size and therefore needs to open up to welcome foreign investment.

If this country can reach a consensus that upgrading or transforming domestic industries is important, then it should further open up local markets and work to build platforms that can attract foreign investments and retain talent.

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