Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

AIT Director Young urges Premier Su to boost cross-strait economic relations

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Stephen Young yesterday urged Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to loosen restrictions on economic ties with China.

Young called on Su to quickly implement the conclusions reached during last month's Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development. He also urged the government to relax the restrictions on China-bound investment, expand cross-strait charter flights into regular commercial flights and welcome Chinese tourists to Taiwan.

Young made the remarks in a speech to the 30th plenary meeting of the ROC-USA Business Council that was held at China Trust's headquarters.

Young praised last month's economic conference, as well as Su's placing importance on how to facilitate common Taiwan-US business interests.

But he took on the issue on the benefits and risks to Taiwan's economy of further cross-strait opening.

"It is important for Taiwan to further open its economy to China," he said. "This is a matter of urgent interest to US and Taiwan busi-nesses alike. Taiwan businesses want to be able to pursue investment and trade opportunities in the People's Republic of China [PRC] to expand their markets and take advantage of economies of scale. US businesses are eager to integrate their Greater China operations into one seamless market."

"I hope that the government will act soon to implement the range of recommendations that emerged from the conference," he said.

For example, Young said, easing restrictions on the flow of goods, money and people across the Strait is critical for Taiwan to retain its place in the regional economy.

"An important step will be the expansion of charter flights as an interim step toward regular commercial flights and restrictions on investment must also be relaxed, and PRC business travelers and tourists should be welcomed to come to Taiwan in greater numbers, he said.

Young added that Taiwan must ensure that it can provide for its own defense. The US is looking to Taiwan to embrace a strategy that promotes stability in the region, he said.

"Addressing immediate needs and future capabilities in a balanced way will enable Taipei to deal with Beijing from a position of strength and self-confidence. This will in fact facilitate cross-strait economic opening," he said.

AIT has posted the full text of Young's speech on its Web site.

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