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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 18 News List

Economists urge end to word war


A group of local economists and financial experts yesterday urged the government not to adopt a hostile attitude toward China as it has become the Republic of China's largest export outlet.

The scholars made the appeal at a public hearing on capital flow between Taiwan and China, sponsored by KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛).

Their appeal came as a response to Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) remarks on Thursday that the rush by local businesses to invest in China, commonly known as "mainland fever," has taken a heavy toll on Taiwan's miraculous economic growth in recent years.

Speaking at the public hearing, Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪), chairman of the banking and finance department of National Chengchi University (政大), said China has emerged as Taiwan's third largest trading partner and No. 1 export market.

"We should not adopt a hostile attitude toward such an important trading partner," Lee noted.

Noting that cross-strait relations have entered a critical juncture, Lee said the massive relocation of Taiwan capital and production bases is the logical result of economic division of labor between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Lee further said what the Republic of China government should do to cope with this situation is mulling how to help Taiwanese investors to develop their businesses in China.

Lee said the government should adopt new thinking in industrial development policies and taking new measures to attract them to retain their business roots at home and help local enterprises secure needed capital to finance their domestic investment and business expansion projects.

Meanwhile, National Taiwan University (台大) economics professor Hsu Chen-ming (許振明) said that as both Taiwan and China will be admitted to the WTO in the not-too-distant future, the government should not dodge the issue of allowing inflow of China capital.

Hsu said the government should forge a national risk management mechanism to manage capital flow in preparation for opening the doors to China capital and cross-strait financial exchanges.

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