President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen said the question of how successful Taiwan will be in its participation in the WTO as a full member will depend on how well the country nurtures its own WTO specialists and foreign trade negotiators.
The job of nurturing such specialists and foreign-trade negotiators will undoubtedly fall to the WTO Center, established yesterday under the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, which has maintained close connections with the government, Chen said.
Addressing a ceremony marking the inauguration of the WTO Center, Chen noted that the country was formally admitted into the WTO on Jan. 1 last year, becoming the 144th member of the organization, thanks to strenuous efforts by both the government and the private sector over the past decade.
Membership in the world trade regulatory body is now allowing Taiwan to compete with all other nations around the world on an equal and reciprocal footing and is further widening its horizons in the international trade spectrum, Chen said.
He noted that WTO membership also means greater responsibilities for the nation in the international trade community, which in turn necessitates that the country readjust its business and industrial structures and trade regime to meet the challenges triggered by liberalization while at the same time trying to maintain its competitiveness.
The government is attaching great importance to the upcoming fifth WTO ministerial conference slated to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from tomorrow through Sunday, he said. It will be the first time Taiwan has taken part in any WTO ministers' meeting since the country became a full member of the WTO, he said.
The WTO Center will conduct in-depth research and analysis on WTO issues in cooperation with experts from the industrial, official and academic sectors, he said.
A think tank specializing in WTO affairs, the center will be exclusively responsible for offering comprehensive and well-planned recommendations for the government in drafting economic policies and in conducting international trade negotiations, he said.
The WTO Center will also be responsible for conducting pragmatic economic and trade diplomacy abroad.