Sat, Jan 25, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP lawmakers call on government to scrap go-slow policy and open up

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several DPP lawmakers yesterday urged the government to be more liberal when weighing China-bound investment plans, saying policies designed to curb local capital from moving across the Strait have all proved to be futile.

Rather, they said, the administration should fully embrace the "active opening, effective management" principle in line with the conclusion of the 2001 Economic Development Advisory Conference.

The "no haste, be patient" policy has not only failed to discourage local investors from migrating to China but has slowed down Taiwan's globalization pace, DPP lawmaker Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) said during a news conference in the legislature.

Despite the introduction of the go-slow policy in 1996 by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), China-bound capital amounts to US$25 billion, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Chinese official studies put the figure at US$66.8 billion.

"Whichever side is accurate, the trend shows Lee's containment strategy is an utter failure," Chang said. "The DPP administration should formulate its own policy in this regard."

He praised economics officials for allowing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to build 8-inch wafer fabrication plants in China, calling the decision "light at the end of the tunnel."

Noting that Taiwan investors provide more than 100 million job opportunities in China, Chang said a consistent set of regulations is greatly needed to better help them meet challenges from foreign competitors.

Fellow DPP lawmaker Chiu Chuang-chin (邱創進) echoed the demand, saying the "Go South" policy has proved to be of no appeal to Taiwan businesspeople, either.

"Markets in southeastern Asian countries are much smaller and governments there are not as friendly, compared with China which shares a common language with Taiwan," Chiu said.

Hsieh Ming-yuan (謝明源), another DPP legislator, said that the government should not alienate China-based Taiwanese businesspeople by faltering on its promise to lift the ban on direct cross-strait transport links.

He said that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had pledged to allow full-scale links -- trade, mail, and transportation -- with China but later backed down on the venture.

All three legislators said the government must not be trapped by the "no haste, be patient" constraint.

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