Wed, Jan 13, 2010 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Business council head laments decision on US beef

DENIAL The US-Taiwan Business Council president dismissed fears that the US has sought China’s cooperation at the expense of its relationship with Taiwan

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

“When there is an imbalance in US-China relationship, what tends to happen in Washington is a greater reluctance to do things with Taiwan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hammond-Chambers also said that signing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) would dramatically reduce the ability of the Chinese to oppose Taiwan making other regional agreements because China “has gone ahead and done it.”

“I believe President Ma has at least increased the likelihood that Taiwan will be able to sign bilateral agreements with other economies, possibly ASEAN economies like Singapore and Thailand,” he said.

He said the Ma government’s decision to engage China on an economic agreement was the soundest approach to both reducing tension in the Taiwan Strait and creating momentum with China.

Asked whether an ECFA with China that provides preferential access for Taiwanese companies would have a negative impact on US interests, Hammond-Chambers said that it would be a challenge for both the US and other countries.

The council will continue to watch what happens to the ECFA before making a judgment call on what sort of impact it would have on US commercial interests, Hammond-Chambers said.

He also praised the previous administration under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for its efforts to dramatically improve the intellectual property rights (IPR) environment in Taiwan.

“It is a huge competitive advantage for Taiwan because IPR protection created an environment that’s more attractive for high-end technology investment here than it is in China,” he said.

As long as the Ma administration remains committed to building on what its predecessor achieved on IPR, a more integrated Taiwan-China economic market will put Taiwan in a better position to take advantage of higher-end technology in China, he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TED YANG

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