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Newly appointed economics minister lays out goals

2014/12/05 21:30:52

Newly appointed economics minister John C.C. Deng (center). CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Minister without Portfolio John C.C. Deng on Friday laid out goals he will work toward after he takes over as economics minister in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Deng said he would strive to boost the competitiveness of Taiwan's industries, explore the Chinese and international markets and improve the lives of the people.

Deng said clear objectives were needed to boost Taiwan's competitiveness, something he said the ministry has been working on for over a decade and will not cease to strive for.

"We have to be stronger as others get stronger," Deng said.

Other efforts to be made include better promoting Taiwan's products in China and elsewhere and to that end, the ministry needs to push free trade deals with other countries, he added.

"We will go wherever there are opportunities," Deng said.

The new minister also addressed how he would improve communication with the Legislature and the public on key policies, in light of the huge opposition to a controversial trade-in-services pact with China that some people attributed to the government's failure to properly communicate with the public beforehand.

Stalled progress on the pact has led to delays on a subsequent trade-in-goods pact that some fear will put major trade rival South Korea ahead of Taiwan.

South Korea has been pushing to sign free trade deals with countries including China. Doing so would make its exports to China more competitive than Taiwan's because they will enjoy tariff cuts.

Deng said his ministry will work to demonstrate its readiness to communicate by making sure it gathers opinion from the public sector in the early stages of policy formulation and avoid merely broadcasting its ideas.

Before being tapped to head the Economics Ministry, Deng has served as Taiwan's deputy representative to the World Trade Organization, chief negotiator of the ministry's Office of Trade Negotiations, and a deputy economics minister.

Deng had served as Taiwan's deputy representative to the U.S. and a vice minister of the Mainland Affairs Council -- the country's top China policy planner.

Deng will assume his new post Dec. 8.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Scully Hsiao)