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WTO chief praises Taiwan’s economy, forecasts future challenges

2012/06/08 18:59:44

Taipei, June 8 (CNA) Taiwan’s economic performance since its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been outstanding, but more challenges lie ahead as the global trading system undergoes changes, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said Friday.

Taiwan’s gross domestic product averaged 4.4 percent between 2001 and 2011, a figure that well exceeds the world average of lower than 4 percent, Lamy said in a speech delivered via video conference at an international conference held to mark 10 years of Taiwan's participation in the WTO.

“These have been good years, and Chinese Taipei has much to be proud of in terms of its economic achievements,” he said.

Taiwan joined the WTO in January 2002 under the name of “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu” but is more usually referred to as Chinese Taipei.

Lamy noted, however, that the global trading system isencountering structural transformations due to the growing developing and emerging economies and a change in trade composition to includea larger proportion of intermediate goods --goods that are used asinputs in the production of other goods, such as partly finished goods.

Taking Taiwan as an example, he said the global production process has shifted from a single location to multiple jurisdictions.

The share of intermediary goods in Taiwan’s exports and imports is around 70 percent, he said. “What looks like an export of a single country is really the sum of value-added contributions from a range of sources,” he pointed out.

This observation could offer significant implications for policy makers, he said.

“Today we have widely differing and somewhat unconnected policy structures at the international level for dealing with merchandise trade, services trade and investment policy," he said, questioning the sense of this situation.

He also expressed doubts about the proliferation of preferential trade agreements, saying that these could “add to the costs and degree of uncertainty involved in doing business across frontiers.”

(By Nancy Liu)