Jun 25, 2017 Culture Comments Off on Taiwan could be further isolated if Japan, EU sign FTA, expert warns
Taipei--An industry leader expressed worry on Sunday that Taiwan could be further isolated and more of its businesses forced to move overseas if a reported free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and Europe becomes a reality.
Tsai Lien-sheng (???), secretary general of the Taipei-based Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI), said there is little chance that Japan would help Taiwan integrate into the global trading system after it signs an FTA with Europe, as reported by the New York Times (NYT) and local media.
A United Evening News report cited the NYT as reporting that such an agreement, in part aimed at countering rising protectionism in the United States led by President Donald Trump, could be inked within the coming week at the earliest.
As Taiwanese products often have to compete with their Japanese counterparts globally, some local academics see the upcoming Japan-EU FTA as likely to have an adverse impact on Taiwan.
Ou Cheng-ming (???), vice president of the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association who is visiting Europe on a government delegation, said the government should make use of Japan's friendship with Taiwan, which has been boosted by Taiwanese donations to help rebuild Japan's devastated area hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, to cooperate with Japan and gain access to international markets.
Taiwanese businesses operating in China could also use Chinese channels to export their products without being hit with higher export duties, Ou said.
Tsai is not as upbeat as Ou, saying the competitiveness of Taiwanese products would likely be adversely impacted by a Japan-EU FTA, and he sees little likelihood that Japan will help Taiwan gain global market access because the many of the two countries' products are competing for the same market.
If Japan wants to help Taiwan enter the world market, it should do so by signing a bilateral FTA with Taiwan, Tsai said.
The reported Japan-EU FTA is adding pressure on Taiwan which has already been isolated by its failure to join Southeast Asia's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the U.S.-led but aborted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to Tsai.
"As we look on, I'm afraid our businesses will be forced to move their productions lines abroad and our industry will be further hollowed out," said Tsai.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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