President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that protectionism still exists in both Taiwan’s public and private sectors, and such a mindset will prevent the country from moving in line with the global trend of trade liberalisation.
Any free trade negotiation involves give and take, Ma said, adding that free trade arrangements may not necessarily bring great benefits, but without them, Taiwan will definitely lose its competitive edge.
“It is impossible for us to ask other countries to open their markets, to lower tariffs and to remove obstacles without doing the same ourselves,” said Ma at an award ceremony for winners of Taiwan Excellence gold awards.
Since it is a trade-off, Taiwan should get fully prepared, including identifying in what areas the country can yield, transforming its industrial structure, and helping industries prone to the negative effects of trade liberalisation, the president noted. “In such a gloomy global economy, what we can do is to work together and come up with ideas of how to improve the domestic economy,” he said.
Ma also vowed to do his utmost to build an environment of fair competition for Taiwanese businesses, reiterating his hope that Taiwan can join the Trans-Pacific Partnership within the next eight years.
If Taiwan can join the partnership, it will allow Taiwan to become more integrated into the international community and gain greater economic and political balance and security, he said.