Tue, Jan 12, 2010 - Page 1 News List

No conditions for ECFA talks: SEF

By Ko Shu-ling and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

“Why is it important? Because we have many businessmen in China and we have huge investments there,” he said in a speech at an East Asia working meeting organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Taiwan needs an opportunity to participate in regional economic integration. The last thing we want is to be left out,” he said.

Taiwan might face marginalization in Asia unless it expands its market access with Beijing, especially since the ASEAN-China FTA took effect this month, he said.

“We must replace confrontation with conversation and tension with amity. Only by doing so, can cross-strait relations become normalized,” Siew said, adding that normalized trade relations with Beijing was key to Taiwan enjoying the same treatment and perks as it competes against the ASEAN-China FTA.

Siew also urged Taiwanese diplomats redouble their lobbying efforts for a FTA or similar trade deal with their host countries.

However, the efforts would bespent in vain, Siew said, unless Taiwan first forges a sound trade relationship with Beijing. The removal of he “road blocks” would encourage other countries to start a dialogue with Taiwan, he said.

Siew said signing the proposed ECFA did have potential setbacks and negative impacts for Taiwanese industry, so it was important for the government to install safeguard measures to cushion the possible blows.

National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起) also spoke at the ministry forum but that part of the meeting was closed to the media.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG AND CNA

Also See: ECFA threatens Taiwan’s surplus

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