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Economic Daily News: Ways for Taiwan to break out of its plight

2014/11/25 10:41:24

The recent conclusion of free trade talks between China and South Korea has exposed several strange phenomena in Taiwan.

First, as major countries around the world pursue free trade agreements (FTAs) with their trade partners, Taiwan remains skeptical and is even trying to desensitize itself from reality.

Second, despite promoting industrial upgrading for over a decade, Taiwan is still not well prepared. And third, Taiwan still lacks self-confidence in the face of international competition.

If people are willing to put aside their fear of China and leave their defeatism behind, Taiwan will be able to act rationally to overcome its plight.

The first thing Taiwan needs to do is to shape a basic attitude toward FTAs and regional economic integration. The Kuomintang-led pan-blue camp and the pan-green camp led by the Democratic Progressive Party should hold an open debate to allow people to understand the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization.

The government also needs to give clear directions on Taiwan's industrial policy going forward and how it will promote industrial transformation. Domestic businesses should also understand that FTAs can only provide an opportunity for them to compete fairly with their foreign counterparts and cannot guarantee their survival in an intensely competitive environment.

Finally, it is time for civic awareness to wake up. Taiwan's future should not be held hostage to partisan confrontation and political inaction.

At a time when the world is spinning at an increasingly faster speed, Taiwan cannot continue to stand still on the same spot. (Editorial abstract -- Nov. 25, 2014)

(By Y.F. Low)