Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chen vows to maintain equilibrium

BUSINESS To encourage investment, the president said he would promote policies that would keep stability in ties between the two sides of the Strait

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian gives a thumbs-up at a booth run by the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the 2003 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

To encourage global business leaders to invest in Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday promised that the government will promote political stability and liberalize controls on foreign investments.

Chen said that although the government's economic strategy focused on developing global markets rather than China's, Taiwan will keep trying to normalize the cross-strait relationship, especially the realization of direct links before the end of next year.

"Taiwan is ready, the world is welcome to invest in us," he said at the opening of the 2003 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference in Taipei.

More than 1,900 global business leaders have been invited to participate in the four-day conference, which is the country's biggest-ever business promotion event.

Chen said that his recent campaign promises -- legislating a referendum law and writing a new constitution -- were measures to cement the country's democracy and would not undermine cross-strait stability or damage the country's economic climate.

The issues "should not be narrowed to become a conflict between independence and reunification, and they do not contradict my `five noes,'" Chen said, referring to promises he made during his inauguration speech in 2000 that included not declaring independence or holding a referendum on the subject.

Chen said the stability of the Taiwan Strait was crucial to the prosperity and progress of the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world. Taiwan had never ignored the importance of the Chinese market and the government was willing to further contribute to the normalization of the cross-strait relationship, he said.

"However, China is neither the `only,' the `last' nor the `entire' market of the world," Chen said. "It is just one part of Taiwan's global management strategy in developing its economy."

He cautioned investors to not only focus on China's quick growth but also be aware of its legal system, saying that China was still a country under the rule of man rather than the rule of law, creating unforeseen risks.

Chen reaffirmed his sincerity and resolution in carrying out his three-stage proposal for implementing direct transportation links between Taiwan and China by the end of next year. He urged the public and leaders of both sides to jointly cooperate and reconcile their differences.

"The priority mission of the government currently is to pragmatically deal with the `facilitation of air cargo,' which would allow Taiwan's carriers to fly to Shanghai using scheduled charter flights ... that stop over in Hong Kong or Macao," Chen said.

Chen urged Beijing to agree to the cargo link, thereby creating a milestone in the development of cross-strait trade.

He also used reports from international economic research institutes and organizations to demonstrate that the country has created a better environment to face the international competition.

"Taiwan's government and its people have long been well prepared to welcome companies from around the globe to seize the chance to invest in Taiwan," he said.

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