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Premier to lead free trade task force

2012/08/11 23:04:05

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen said Saturday that he will head a government task force to promote Taiwan's free trade agreement (FTA) talks with its major trade partners.

"The public is most concerned with the country's integration into the international trade system, and the Executive Yuan attaches a great importance to the issue," Chen said following a meeting with business executives and academics to hammer out Taiwan's economic strategies in the face of robust competition from other countries.

Chen took over the task force after representatives from businesses and industrial groups at the meeting strongly suggested that he lead the "Free Trade Agreement Strategic Promotion Commission" that is being headed by Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah.

"Adjustments will be made on various fronts in order to allow the ad hoc group to fully exercise its functions," Chen said, adding that "its ultimate goal is to have Taiwan join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and that will require a lot of efforts."

Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang echoed the premier's view, saying that the government will target emerging markets to explore new business opportunities.

According to Shih, member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, Arab and African countries will be his ministry's main targets in the next six months.

Additional trade promotion offices will be set up in India and the Middle East in the near future, he added.

(By Lin Hui-chun, Angela Tsai and Flor Wang)