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International community responds positively to ECFA: MAC

Focus Taiwan News Channel, Taiwan

International community responds positively to ECFA: MAC

By Chen Hung-chin and C.J. Lin

2 February 2012

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between Taiwan and China has received positive feedback from the international community and has helped advance the country’s international image and development, said a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official Thursday.

The ECFA has improved the chances of Taiwan inking free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries and can be considered the first step in signing such agreements, said MAC Deputy Minister Kao Charng.

Since the ECFA was signed in June 2010, other countries and areas such as Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, the European Union, India and New Zealand have shown an interest in strengthening bilateral economic cooperation ties with Taiwan, said Kao at a Taiwan-China investment forum in Taipei.

Countries around the world have long been signing FTAs with each other, and tariff free arrangements under these FTAs have given participating countries great trade advantages, he noted.

If Taiwan cannot sign FTAs with its major trading partners, it will become increasingly marginalized in the international arena, he said.

Moreover, the deputy minister said, the ECFA has helped the country attract interest from foreign investors.

Kao attributed the surge of interest from overseas to the ECFA’s role in the stabilization of cross-Taiwan Strait relations, which has helped improve Taiwan’s economic environment and boost privateinvestments.

In addition, reports from think tanks in the United States, France and Japan have indicated the ECFA has aided Taiwan’s international image and development, said Kao.

A report by the American Chamber of Commerce even suggested that the ECFA has helped Taiwan return to the world map, as multinational companies consider Taiwan to once more be a key player in the China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau regions, 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 can facilitate cooperation between Taiwan and Japan companies, and is an important foundation for companies to expand their operations in China’s market, he pointed out.