Taiwan, S. Korea may sign investment treaty ’soon’

China Post | 29 Sep 2014

Taiwan, S. Korea may sign investment treaty ’soon’

By Katherine Wei

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan and South Korea may soon be sealing the deal on the bilateral investment agreement that has been under negotiation for over two years, said South Korea’s representative to Taiwan Cho Baek-sang (趙百相) yesterday.

In an exclusive interview with the United Daily News, Cho stated that the majority of the contents in the agreement have been shaped while both sides have yet to agree on a few fragments. “There will be good news very soon,” said Cho.

The representative also stated that negotiations on the free trade agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and South Korea will begin shortly after the latter has held FTA negotiations with China.

Taiwan and South Korea share the same ranking — No. 6 — on one another’s trade partners list; the manufacturing and agriculture industries of both countries complement each other well, resulting in more opportunities in collaboration, said Cho. “It is certainly essential for Taiwan and South Korea to sign economic agreements, but since the China-Korea FTA is coming up at the end of this year, now is not the best time for the Taiwan-China FTA,” Cho added.

The bilateral investments between Taiwan and South Korea have not been going as smoothly as other economic ties between the two countries; for the first six months in 2014, Taiwan has only invested a total of US$600 million in South Korea, and South Korea US$1 billion in Taiwan.

After South Korea established a comprehensive coverage of FTA’s with major markets worldwide, Taiwan entrepreneurs have expressed a warmer attitude toward investing in South Korea, said Cho. “Hopefully, the numbers will escalate instead of decrease, which will in turn emphasize the importance of sealing the bilateral investment agreement as soon as possible.”

“The strengths of industries in the two countries differ, yet there is scope for cooperation as well. We shouldn’t always refer to one another as “enemies.” How Taiwan’s Hon Hai Group previously acquired a stake in South Korea’s SK Group is a good example,” said Cho.

“And that goes for the small- and medium-sized enterprises as well. The small- and medium-sized enterprises in South Korea take up a higher percentage — 99 percent — when compared to Taiwan’s, and provide as much as 80 percent of job opportunities as well as a 20-percent contribution to the country’s exports ... there will be a “Korea-Taipei Friendly Week” starting today, with these enterprises leading local industries in mingling with those in Taiwan,” said Cho.

source: The China Post