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Expert proposes Taiwan-South Korea FTA

Focus Taiwan News Channel, Taiwan

Expert proposes Taiwan-South Korea FTA

20 December 2012

By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Y.F. Low

Taipei, Dec. 20 (CNA) Taiwan should deepen trade talks with China and work to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea to race against the upcoming China-Japan-South Korea FTA negotiations, an expert on East Asia said Thursday.

According to Tsai Zheng-jia from the Institute of International Relations of National Chengchi University (NCCU), the trilateral FTA talks set to begin early next year will be high on the agenda of South Korea’s president-elect Park Geun-hye.

The agreement is expected to intensify the competition between Taiwan and South Korea in the Chinese market, Tsai said during a seminar on South Korea’s just-concluded presidential election.

Under these circumstances, Taiwan should speed up its negotiations with China under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement to gain greater access to China’s domestic market, he said.

Also, Taiwan should seek to sign a trade pact with South Korea to protect the interests of companies from both countries, he said.

Tsai, meanwhile, proposed that Taipei work to increase substantive communication with the new South Korean government, given Park’s friendly relations with Taiwan.

Expressing a similar view, Lee Ming, director of NCCU’s Department of Diplomacy, said Park is no stranger to Taiwan because she has visited before and received an honorary doctorate degree from Taiwan’s Chinese Culture University.

Taiwan should invite South Korea’s ruling party parliamentarians to visit more often to enhance the friendship between the two countries, Lee said.