Tue, Sep 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen receives warm welcome

FTA PUSH The president said more free-trade pacts with allies in Central and South America will help Taiwanese products enter the market in the Americas

BY CHIU YU-TZU  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN MANAGUA

President Chen Shui-bian, left, shakes hands with Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos in Managua on Sunday after Bolanos conferred the ``Ruben Dario'' award on Chen.

PHOTO: AP

Both believing in Taiwan and persisting in reform efforts will eventually transform Taiwan into a better country, one that eventually will be recognized by the rest of the world, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said in Nicaragua on Sunday.

Chen arrived in Managua from the Dominican Republic on Sunday to a warm welcome from Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos Geyer and overseas Taiwanese.

At a luncheon for the overseas Taiwanese community in Nicaragua, Chen said no matter when they migrated to Nicaragua they should not have a problem with unconditionally loving Taiwan.

"The spirit of solidarity is what we people in Taiwan have to learn," Chen said.

The president said that he will continue to press ahead with reform projects, including amending the Constitution.

"I'd like to see a revised Constitution that suits Taiwan before I leave office in 2008," he said.

Using Bolanos' administration as an example, Chen said Nicaragua's new government, formed in 2002, also was once hemmed in by the congress, which was dominated by the opposition.

However, Bolanos' reform projects have resulted in a more optimistic situation, with more economic development last year, Chen said.

Bolanos awarded Chen a medal of honor, the "`Ruben Dario," and signed a joint statement on Nicaragua's interest in signing a free-trade agreement with Taiwan in near future.

Chen was scheduled to attend the Fifth Summit of the Republic of China (ROC) and Central America in Managua yesterday.

When meeting with Taiwan's diplomats in the region on Sunday, he stressed that Taiwan has developed wise investment strategies in Central and South America. He said that Taiwan's new investment plan, the "Jung Pang Project," will interest leaders of Taiwan's allies.

Chen said Taiwanese products will smoothly enter the market in the Americas with the signing of free-trade agreements (FTAs).

Last month, six of Taiwan's allies in Central America and the Caribbean -- Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic -- signed an FTA with the US.

The Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement provides for tariff-free trade between the countries. Combined with that agreement, Taiwan's new FTAs may help Taiwanese products gain indirect tariff-free market access to the US.

"The Jung Pang Project is not a strategy to give the summit additional splendor. We have make them understand that doing business with China would strongly impact their own economic development," Chen said.

Details of the Jung Pang Project were to be presented by Vice Premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) at the yesterday's summit.

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