Taiwan business groups want cross-Strait trade pacts quickly

TAIPEI, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- More than 30 representatives of Taiwan's business community on Monday urged the island's authorities to ratify cross-Strait trade pacts.

The businessmen expressed their concern about the free trade agreement (FTA) between the mainland and the Republic of Korea (ROK), while they met with Jiang Yi-huah, the island's chief administrator, warning that further delay in cross-Strait trade pacts will marginalize Taiwan in regional economic integration.

Hsu Sheng-hsiung, chairman of the Federation of Industries in Taiwan, said the ratification of the FTA between the mainland and the ROK will blunt Taiwan's competitive edge in the petrochemicals industry, textiles and automobile parts, resulting in unemployment and a widening wealth gap.

"Many investors have slowed their investment in Taiwan since the cross-Strait service trade pact became bogged down in March, and we are very worried," Hsu said, asking for ratification of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement which includes goods and services pacts.

Taiwan's service sector contributes about 70 percent to the island's GDP and created a great number of jobs, but still lags behind the ROK and Singapore as well as Hong Kong in terms of exports.

The island's chief administrator said the authorities share the concerns of the entrepreneurs. A local economic institution estimated that Taiwan's GDP growth will be lowered by 0.5 percent due to the ROK FTA.

Jiang called on business groups and common people to back the administrative authority and convince the opposition to work together for pushing completion of cross-Strait goods and service pacts.

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