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Title : President: Opening up our market is the only way to the world market
Date : 2012/8/8 Deadline : 2013/12/31
President Ma Ying-Jeou, on June 1st, said that we should increasingly open up Taiwan's market to the world, only by doing so; the world market will be also open to Taiwan mutually.

During the interview with Reuters, the British web news service, president Ma commented that Taiwan's economy relied heavily on its export business, which accounts for 70% of total GDP. That is why the "New Koxinga Plan" was immediately put in effect to diversify the export market when he was sworn in as president four years ago.

For example, exports to Mainland China last year accounted for only 40% of Taiwan's total exports, same as four years ago. The export volume had increased between January and April this year, but the percentage remained unchanged. This indicated that the export business has increased for South East Asia, European Union as well as the United States and others, while it remained the same for Mainland China. President Ma believed that it was the right policy to diversify Taiwan's export market, as we should not place all our eggs in one basket.

In terms of Taiwan's domestic industries, there were two issues we needed to tackle. We should change our sole emphasis of efficiency to focus on both efficiency and creativity. In other words, Taiwan should not continue to only be an equipment manufacturer, we should start creating our own brands. We needed to have a revolutionary change for our traditional industries.

Secondly, we needed a mentality revolution. We should speed up on opening up our market to the world; the world market would welcome Taiwan in return.

President Ma recalled that he talked about these two issues during his inauguration ceremony, and he stressed that in order to reduce unemployment rate, increase salaries and minimize the gap between the rich and the poor, it was extremely important that we addressed these two issues.
The president continued to say that he had noticed Taiwan not catching up with the regional trend of establishing trading agreements five years ago; it had to do with Taiwan's diplomatic isolation and the government not placing significant importance on the matter.

He pointed out that only four free trading agreements were signed, predominantly with Central and South American countries, in the past 10 years, however, their total export volume merely accounts for 1% of Taiwan's total export business. We should focus our efforts on getting trading agreements with leading trading partners.

Taiwan's first agreement was the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with Mainland China two years ago. We had also signed an investment agreement with Taiwan's second biggest trading partner, Japan, last year. In addition, negotiation with Singapore on signing an economic agreement has begun last year, and New Zealand this year. Both of these countries were members of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), so they were extremely important to us.

Similarly, we hope to resume the negotiation with Taiwan's third biggest trading partner, the United States, under the current Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Many doors were to open after our negotiation with Mainland China, the key was whether or not we grab the opportunity and adjusted our mentality and structure to keep pushing forward.

President Ma continued to explain that this was why he was eager to quickly get some things done and establish the foundation for the next 20 to 30 years. It was not possible to get everything done in his presidential term of these four years, but he hoped that building a solid foundation would make things done easier in the future.