Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Premier calls for free trade pact at AmCham meeting

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that a free-trade agreement between Taiwan and the US would be in the interests of both countries and expressed hope that the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) would help bring about the signing of such an agreement.

The premier made the remarks when he met with AmCham president Andrea Wu (吳王小珍) and other AmCham members at the Executive Yuan.

The meeting came after the publication of AmCham's 2004 Taiwan White Paper on June 1, in which it strongly urged the opening of direct transportation links across the Taiwan Strait, saying that without such links, the nation's goal of becoming a regional economic hub would be in jeopardy and Taiwan would risk being marginalized in a fiercely competitive environment.

Yu expressed appreciation for the long-term support of US businesspeople and asked government officials to reflect upon suggestions by US enterprises, adding that globalization and liberalization are established policies of the Chen administration.

Yu also discussed the nation's efforts in liberalizing the flow of talent and capital and in cracking down on violations of intellectual property rights.

Noting that stable cross-strait relations are still the focus of the Chen administration, Yu expressed hope that the US would mediate in order to help bring about talks on direct transportation links.

Yu also said that one of the major tasks of his administration is to sign a free-trade agreement with the US, and he expressed the hope that AmCham members would convey this to officials in Washington.

Wu will lead an AmCham delegation to Washington beginning Sunday. The annual "Washington door-knocking" trip will involve making calls on leading mem-

bers of Congress and key executive-branch agencies involved in economic relations with Taiwan, as well as think tanks.

Noting that American enterprises are increasing their investment in Taiwan every year, the premier said that a speeding-up of globalization and liberalization is in the interests of both Taiwan and the US.

The premier stressed that Taiwan has demonstrated its utmost sincerity in dealing with Beijing, citing as examples the expansion of offshore trans-shipment centers and increasingly convenient cross-strait cargo transportation.

But he said that direct transportation will require negotiation and that he hopes American businesses can play the role of mediator in bringing about such consultations.

Regarding AmCham's concerns about protections for the US pharmaceutical industry, the premier promised that he would see to it that a revised version of the Law of Pharmaceutical Affairs provides clear-cut regulations.

Also present at the meeting were Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全), Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) and Public Construction Commission Chairwoman Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪).

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