The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) by Taiwan and China in June 2010 has been warmly welcomed by the international community and helped to enhance the nation’s international image and development, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said yesterday.
The ECFA has improved the chances of Taiwan inking free-trade agreements (FTA) with other countries and it should be considered the first step in signing such agreements, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Kao Charng (高長) said.
Since the ECFA was signed, other countries and areas such as Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, the EU, India and New Zealand have shown an interest in strengthening bilateral economic ties with Taiwan, Kao said at a Taiwan-China investment forum in Taipei.
Countries around the world have long signed FTAs with each other, and tariff-free arrangements under these agreements have given participating countries great trade advantages, he said.
If Taiwan does not sign FTAs with its major trading partners, it is likely to become increasingly marginalized in the international arena, Kao said, adding that the ECFA had helped the country attract interest from foreign investors.
Kao attributed the surge of interest from overseas to the ECFA’s key role in stabilizing cross-strait relations, which has helped improve the appeal of the local economic environment and boosted private investment. Reports from think tanks in the US, France and Japan have indicated that the ECFA has aided Taiwan’s international image and development, Kao said.
A report by the American Chamber of Commerce even suggested that the ECFA has helped put Taiwan back on the world map, as multinational companies once again consider the nation to be a key player in the China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau region, Kao added.
Over the past year, there has been a notable increase in the number of Japanese investors in Taiwan, Kao said.
According to a report by Japan’s Mizuho Research Institute, the ECFA has helped to facilitate cooperation between Taiwanese and Japanese companies, and it is an important foundation for companies to expand their operations in the China market, he said.