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Liberalization key to Taiwan’s TPP bid: AmCham

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A woman protests in front of Taiwan’s legislature against the import of US beef, Nov. 17, 2009. The way in which Taiwan’s government has bowed to public pressure has made trade partners unsure that the country is willing to uphold its trade obligations, AmCham said. (Photo/Yao Chih-ping)

FocusTaiwan News Channel

Liberalization key to Taiwan’s TPP bid: AmCham

By Wu Ching-chun and Y.F. Low

16 January 2014

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei urged Taiwan Thursday to speed up its efforts to liberalize its business environment to help its bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In order to gain accession to the proposed TPP, Taiwan has to obtain the consent of the trade bloc’s 12 negotiating members, who will make their decisions based on the level of liberalization in Taiwan and whether Taiwan’s business environment is well-aligned with internationally accepted standards, AmCham President Andrea Wu said during an interview with a local radio station.

This means that Taiwan will have to present its results in promoting liberalization before it joins the TPP, not after, she said.

Another barrier Taiwan needs to overcome involves the government’s credibility, she said.

The delay in the passage of the Taiwan-China service trade agreement by the Legislative Yuan and the dispute over U.S. beef imports, for example, have led the international community to doubt the government ability to honor its commitments, she noted.

According to Wu, failure to join important trade blocs such as the TPP has lowered foreign investors’ confidence in Taiwan’s economy.

As seen in AmCham’s 2014 Business Climate Survey, only 54 percent of respondents expressed optimism in Taiwan’s five-year business outlook, down from 81 percent in 2011, she pointed out.

Wu also called on the government to allow international companies to take part in tenders for major public construction projects, saying that this would allow Taiwan to take advantage of international experience and thereby improve the quality of such projects.