Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan’s economy ‘lonely,’ former vice president says

Staff writer, with CNA

Compared with its trading partners, Taiwan is the “loneliest” nation in economic terms, and faces tough challenges trying to join regional trade blocs, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said on Friday.

Siew said that since his retirement from governmental positions in 2012, he has visited many countries, including the US, Japan, China and nations in Southeast Asia and Europe.

These countries maintain close trade and economic ties with Taiwan, he said, while explaining his decision to spend his retirement working toward the government’s goal of inclusion in economic integration.

During the visits, Siew said he found that these nations have aggressively promoted economic development and economic integration.

However, compared with these countries, “Taiwan is lonely” and marginalized, he said.

He said he was not the only one who felt this way; citing entrepreneurs who accompanied him during the visits as feeling the same way and worrying about Taiwan’s survival and development.

They have been actively striving for opportunities for Taiwan to be included in regional economic integration. However, the reality is tough, the veteran politician said.

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has made it a priority this year to get Taiwan included in two economic blocs that are under negotiation — the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Apart from mobilizing relevant authorities to take action to reach this goal, Ma has also invited Siew to help rally the private sector to join the effort.

However, it is a rather challenging task, Siew said, adding that none of the 12 countries that are negotiating the TPP agreement and the 16 nations involved in the RCEP negotiations maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Compared with other countries, it is much more difficult for Taiwan to vie for inclusion in the two regional economic blocs, Siew said.

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