Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Government urged to add trade to MOFA's mission


The government should study the feasibility of integrating its foreign trade affairs into the jurisdiction of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Taiwan representative to the WTO said on Tuesday.

Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章) made the suggestion at a meeting of Taiwanese mission chiefs stationed in European countries, which opened in Geneva on Tuesday, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) presiding.

Yen, a former finance minister, said that Taiwan has had a hard time expanding its diplomatic frontiers due to Beijing's diplomatic embargo.

"I think we may be able to achieve some diplomatic breakthroughs if we can wisely use our relatively strong trade and economic clout," Yen said.

He noted many countries, including Australia, have merged their foreign and trade affairs departments. Several other countries, such as Japan, have traditionally authorized their foreign affairs ministries to chart their basic international trade policies.

Yen said he hopes that relevant government agencies can conduct an extensive study on whether the nation can learn from those countries' experiences and allow the foreign ministry to handle foreign trade affairs to enhance Taiwan's power in the diplomatic arena.

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