Mon, Mar 07, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan hoping to start negotiations on free trade agreement with Malaysia

CNA , SINGAPORE

Taiwan is pushing for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia in an attempt to further prop up substantive ties between the two countries, the nation's representative to Malaysia was quoted by the Malaysian National News Agency (MNNA) as saying yesterday.

Wu Wen-ya (吳文雅), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, was quoted by MNNA as saying that two-way trade between Taiwan and Malaysia totaled US$6.5 billion last year, marking an increase of 22 percent over the year-earlier level.

Taiwanese investments in Malaysia over the years have exceeded US$9.5 billion, making Taiwan the third-largest source of foreign capital, second only to the US and Japan, Wu told the MNNA.

In addition, Wu said, the number of Malaysian students seeking to pursue advanced studies in Taiwan has reached 36,000, making the Malaysians the largest foreign student group in Taiwan. Currently, about 3,000 Taiwan students are studying in Malaysia and about 1,200 Malaysians seek to go to Taiwan to study every year.

Meanwhile, Chou Mei-fen (周美芬), a Malaysian vice minister of women, family and community development who studied in Taiwan, said she will push for closer cooperation between the ministry and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in efforts to allow the Malaysian government to recognize the academic degrees conferred to Malaysian students by institutes from Taiwan.

According to Chou, following the Malaysian government's recognition of degrees from six Taiwan medical schools for Malaysian graduates, the Malaysian Ministry of Health announced recently that Malaysian graduates from the Department of Pharmaceutics in three Taiwan universities can become pharmacists in Malaysia immediately after they return to Malaysia.

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