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President vows to turn Kaohsiung into free economic zone

President vows to turn Kaohsiung into free economic zone

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that if re-elected he will turn Kaohsiung into a free economic demonstration zone with the goal of getting Taiwan into a major Asia-Pacific trade bloc when conditions are ripe. "We'll move forward to turn Kaohsiung into a free economic model," Ma said while receiving Lion's Club delegates from the southern port city at the Presidential Office just days before the Jan. 14 presidential election. He said Kaohsiung is already a free trade harbor, but making it a free economic demonstration zone would upgrade customs clearance efficiency and give it greater value-added opportunities. If Kaohsiung is successful, then the model will be spread to Taichung, Taoyuan and Keelung, Ma said. The creation of such zones, the president said, could help Taiwan move closer to gaining accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalize Asia-Pacific economies. Though Taiwan has signed a trade deal with China -- the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement -- Ma acknowledged that it was not enough. "Our aim is to join the TPP within a decade," Ma said. "If we fail to jump on the wagon, the situation will be serious." Ma's government has been criticized for not paying attention to the development of southern Taiwan, but he said his administration had distributed an average of NT$62.658 billion per year to Kaohsiung, 13 percent more than his predecessors. He cited projects such as the Wei Wu Ying Maritime Culture and Popular Music Center, the Intercontinental Container Terminal and moving the city's railway underground as among those supported by his administration. (By Kelven Huang and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-01-17 01:47 GMT+08:00