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Business group urges action to prevent marginalization

Business group urges action to prevent marginalization

Taipei, July 25 (CNA) The head of a national business association said Friday that companies are worried because of a "frequent change of Cabinet members" and a sluggish pace in regional integration. Hsu Sheng-hsiung, president of the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI), said that the expected signing of a free trade agreement between China and South Korea at the end of the year could hit Taiwan's steel, machine tool, automobile, panel, petrochemical, textile, and glass sectors to the tune of US$38.6 billion. Hsu made the remarks while presiding over the presentation of annual CNFI white paper, given the title of "Rise up, Taiwan!" The paper urges ruling and the opposition parties to work toward consensus for the good of the country. He said the business sector is worried about the lack of progress in the cross-strait trade-in-services pact, stalled in Taiwan's Legislature, as well as the "frequent change of Cabinet members" -- a reference to the 17 ministers who have stepped down in the 1-and-a-half years that Jiang Yi-huah has been premier. Hsu said he would call on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to ask him to facilitate an early passage of the services pact. He said he hopes that Taiwan can get a better deal in a future trade-in-goods pact than South Korea will have with its FTA. Speaking to CNA later in the day, Deputy Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun attributed the country's slow move toward liberalization to a lack of consensus among the Taiwanese people. He said that if "some people" only consider the negative effects of opening up, the progress will continue to move slowly and Taiwan's competitive edge will be dulled. Duh also commented on remarks by CNFI Secretary-General Tsai Lien-sheng, who criticized President Ma Ying-jeou for failing to uphold his "6-3-3" campaign promise -- annual growth of 6 percent, an unemployment rate of 3 percent, and per capita income of US$30,000 by 2016.
The deputy minister responded that the administration's efforts have "borne fruits" in some areas, but more effort is needed in adjusting the industrial structure to make the goal achievable. "The 6-3-3 policy is a government goal," Duh said. "Due to external factors, we couldn't reach the goal at the current time, but the government will continue to make efforts." Tsai had noted that Taiwan's economy has been stuck in a quagmire for three years due to the European debt crisis and global economic slump, leaving the president unable to fulfill his 2008 promise. (By Milly Lin and Lilian Wu)