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  • President Ma attends opening of Sourcing Taiwan 2012
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President Ma attends opening of Sourcing Taiwan 2012. President Ma participates in opening of Sourcing Taiwan 2012. President Ma takes part in opening of Sourcing Taiwan 2012. President Ma Ying-jeou attends opening of Sourcing Taiwan 2012.
President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of March 29 was accompanied by Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Kuo-hsin Liang (梁國新) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council Chairman Wang Chih-kang (王志剛) in attending the opening ceremonies of the Sourcing Taiwan 2012 trade show. The president expressed his hope that this year's event will generate billions of US dollars in business, just as was the case last year. President Ma also reiterated that the government will actively work to create the conditions that will enable Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership within 10 years.

In remarks, the president stated that the euro zone debt crisis has yet to be completely resolved and economic recovery in the US has been sluggish, which means that monetary policy could remain loose until 2014. At the same time, mainland China recently lowered its economic growth target, and instability in the Middle East is making it hard to predict the direction of international oil prices. In light of the uncertainties hovering over the international economy, there are concerns that Taiwan's economic development will be impacted.

The president stated that the government has already taken various measures in response. For instance, the Executive Yuan last December announced an economic stability plan that puts forward seven strategies and 10 focal points designed to ensure that the twin engines of domestic demand and exports continue to drive Taiwan's economic development. The president explained that the government is also drafting a medium- to long-term economic stimulus plan with the hope that structural adjustments and liberalized regulations will further strengthen Taiwan's ability to respond to changes in the international economic situation.

President Ma remarked that the government has placed considerable emphasis on the development of emerging markets. In recent years, the government has introduced the New Zheng He Plan (新鄭和計畫) and other initiatives with the hope of diversifying Taiwan's export markets. After four years of efforts, Taiwan has already seen concrete results. The president pointed to last year's exports as an example, saying that 26% of Taiwan's exports went to emerging markets, which was nearly three percentage points higher than in 2007. In addition, last year's growth in exports to emerging markets exceeded 20%, with the greatest growth seen in exports to Russia at 40.5%, South Africa at 65.9%, and Singapore at 39.6%. Compared with growth in exports to mainland China and Hong Kong of just 8.1%, this shows that the government is not putting all of its eggs in one basket.

President Ma stressed that Taiwan has signed the fewest number of free trade agreements of any major trading nation in Asia. Consequently, the nation must quickly work to sign free trade agreements or economic cooperation accords with other major trading partners, he said, adding that this is crucial to preventing Taiwan from being marginalized in the course of regional economic integration.

The president furthermore stated that Taiwan has already signed the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with mainland China, its largest trading partner, and it has signed a Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Investment Arrangement, its second largest trading partner. As for trade between Taiwan and the United States, the two sides in 1994 signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that serves as an interactive platform for dealing with trade and economic issues. The two sides had originally intended to carry out negotiations under the TIFA framework in January last year, but talks were halted due to issues related to US beef. The president expressed his hopes that the talks will resume as soon as possible, furthermore stating that Taiwan must strive to overcome obstacles and break out of its isolation. Regardless whether the United States exerts pressure, we have no choice but to find our own path, the president emphasized.

The president then turned his attention to the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea that recently took effect. He said that Taiwan could lose some US$3 billion worth of exports and 5,700 jobs as a result, and he urged all sectors to work hard to avoid being eliminated in this wave of regional economic liberalization.

President Ma reiterated that the government will not only work to generate employment in its efforts to promote economic development, but also will pursue the long-term objectives of equal distribution of wealth, industrial innovation, and greater participation in regional economic integration. The government will continue its efforts to build up Taiwan as a global center for innovation, an economic and trade hub in the Asia-Pacific, a global headquarters for Taiwan companies, and a regional headquarters for foreign companies in order to further solidify Taiwan's position in the global economy.
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