Taiwan's President Wants FTA With Japan This Year
Monday, February 8, 2010
At a meeting with the new Japanese representative to Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou
said that, together with a further strengthening of bilateral ties in a number
of fields, he hopes Taiwan and Japan can conclude a free trade agreement (FTA)
He pointed to the close economic relationship between the two countries –
where Taiwan is Japan’s fourth largest trading partner and Japan is Taiwan’s
second largest trading partner. He felt that even closer trade and economic
relations would be of benefit, particularly for businesses.
The President also expressed the opinion that Taiwan’s present efforts
to improve cross-strait relations with China are of benefit to Japan, Korea
and the south-east Asian region as a whole. The government has already confirmed
that, with the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with
China as a starting point, Taiwan then wants to pursue FTAs with its other major
Following the first round of negotiations on the ECFA with China on January
26, when agreement was reached on procedural matters, it was hoped that the
second round of negotiations would be held as soon as possible, although both
parties had much work to be done on their "early harvest" list of
items eligible for lower tariffs to be included in the future agreement.
While indications are that the second round will be held towards the end of
February, no date has yet been fixed and other reports have said that the meeting
will now not be held before early in March. However, although those talks may
have been delayed, the Taiwanese government still expect the ECFA itself to
be concluded and signed in the first half of this year.