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FPG head supports ECFA, '1992 consensus'

FPG head supports ECFA, '1992 consensus'

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) The head of Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) on Wednesday expressed his support for a major trade pact signed between Taiwan and China, saying that the pact should continue to be promoted. William Wong said that the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed last year would be beneficial for Taiwan's economic development. He also said that the "1992 consensus" was key to cross-strait exchanges. Wong made his remarks as he talked about FPG's operations, cross-strait ties and his views on Taiwan's economic climate at a year-end banquet. Wong also cited statistics to demonstrate the importance of the Chinese market to Taiwan. Taiwan enjoyed US$77.2 billion in trade surplus with China and Hong Kong in 2010, and if the figure were to be cut by half, Taiwan would have suffered a deficit of US$15.2 billion in its global trade, Wong said. Taiwan recorded a trade surplus of US$23.4 billion last year, "The figures showed clearly that the mainland Chinese market is important to Taiwan's manufacturing sector and its overall economy," he said. The economies of Europe and the United States will not turn the corner within two years, Wong said, pointing out the eurozone has debt issues, while the manufacturing industry in the U.S. has been weak for a long time and is not expected to turn better in a short period of time. He also said that he was not optimistic about Taiwan's economy in the first two quarters of next year. The FPG head noted that even though China is also being impacted by the global financial woes, it has a vast domestic market to cushion the impact and should be able to maintain a stable development. He noted that Taiwan, with limited natural resources but a high population density, has to rely on the manufacturing industry. Wong cited statistics to show that the annual output of Taiwan's manufacturing sector averages NT$4.31 trillion, accounting for 31 percent of its GDP. In contrast, the agriculture and animal husbandry sectors have an annual output of only NT$160 billion, accounting for 1.6 percent of the GDP. (By Chao Hsiao-hui and Lilian Wu)