The newly signed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China will create opportunities for Taiwan and Japan to strengthen economic cooperation and expand export markets in China, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.
Seeking to attract more foreign investors following the ECFA signing last week, Ma said the economic pact would help normalize cross-strait economic and trade relations, adding that Taiwan and Japan should work together to expand their international markets in China.
“We have great expectations for Taiwan-Japan cooperation in the digital technology and cultural and creative industries ... We can develop the Chinese market together through tighter cooperation,” Ma said at the Presidential Office when meeting with Yoshinobu Noma, a representative of the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan and vice chairman of Kodansha, one of the leading Japanese publishers.
The association was formed by the country’s top publishers in March to address issues related to the growing e-book market both locally and globally.
Ma told his guests that although the e-book industry was not included in the early harvest list, the two sides would start another round of cross-strait negotiation six months after the ECFA takes effect.
Stressing the government’s efforts to promote the cultural and creative industry, Ma called on Japan to cooperate with Taiwan to convert animation, movies and books over to electronic products, create business opportunities and expand in the Chinese market.
Ma also called on the association to cooperate with Taiwan in the field of cloud computing and related industries.
At a separate venue yesterday, a government official in charge of Japanese affairs said that Taiwan and Japan have long had a consensus to formulate a free-trade agreement (FTA) and have been moving toward that goal step by step over the years.
“Last year, both sides expressed the wish to gradually advance toward an FTA. In a ‘building block’ approach, consensus has been reached to negotiate deals on investment protection and intellectual property protection, and the efforts continue,” said Nien Shinn-shyh (粘信士), deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Association of East Asian Relations.
He said that Taiwan and Japan reached the consensus at last year’s 34th Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Meeting, an annual platform held by Taipei and Tokyo since 1976 in the absence of diplomatic relations to strengthen cooperation in various issues.
Nien said the ECFA had been described by mainstream Japanese media as “a big step forward toward implementation of a cross-strait common market,” which added that Japan should sign an FTA with China.
He said that despite the desire to strike an FTA with China, Japan did not exclude Taiwan from its FTA strategy because the economic relationship between the two countries has remained strong.
Nien said that Japan also recognized that the ECFA would have a positive impact on development of Japanese businesses because it would encourage them to form alliances with Taiwanese enterprises to explore the Chinese market.
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