Sat, Nov 07, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Japanese Chamber of Commerce willing to aid Taiwan

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei yesterday said that it is willing to aid the nation’s efforts in seeking participation in regional trade blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), so that the two nations might better adapt to sweeping changes in the global economy through bolstered ties.

The chamber presented its seventh white paper to the government, which was received by National Development Council Minister Woody Duh (杜紫軍) this year.

Duh said that the government has been preparing to join second-round TPP negotiations since last year. The US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries concluded TPP negotiations on Oct. 5.

The multinational deal aims to break down barriers to commerce and investment between countries in a region comprising about 40 percent of the global economy.

“Taiwan’s small-to-medium sized enterprises retain a significant competitive edge over their Japanese peers, and we hope to see further joint efforts between Taiwanese and Japanese companies in contesting other markets abroad,” Isao Takeuchi, a senior director of the business association, told a media briefing in Taipei.

Japan is the nation’s third-largest trading partner, while Taiwan is Japan’s fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to US$61.6 billion last year, Duh said.

Among the five main recommendations listed in this year’s white paper, the chamber urged the government to improve the transparency of its decisionmaking process regarding policies and public sector project contracts.

Consistency in policy and policy execution also pose concerns to the chamber, as changes in government officials — such as the succession of city mayors and department directors — have often resulted in the overturning of contract terms, making it very difficult for Japanese companies to conduct long-term planning for their Taiwan-based operations, the white paper said.

For example, Japanese companies had to scrap investment plans for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project after the city elected a new mayor in last year’s elections, the chamber said.

Other complications include the public’s backlash against the construction of coal and nuclear power plants in Taiwan, it added.

Overall, the chamber said the Taiwanese government is inconsistent, fickle and easily swayed by public sentiment regarding its policies.

In addition, the government lacks a unified direction in its policies, which are confined to disparate remedies to stimulate a limited number of export-oriented industries, it said.

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