Tsai mulls direction amid ongoing U.S.-China trade war

2018/08/08 16:58:03 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) / CNA file photo

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) Tuesday directed government agencies to mitigate possible fallout on Taiwan's economy from the burgeoning trade war between the United States and China, which appears likely to intensify, according to the Presidential Office.

Over the long-term, the ongoing trade war, if it continues to escalate, is expected to have a profound impact on international trade and the global supply chain. That includes exported-oriented Taiwan, Tsai said after being briefed by officials from the Economic and Trade Negotiation Office under the Executive Yuan and National Security Council (NSC) in a meeting at the Presidential Office building.

Meanwhile, the trade war is likely to worsen as Washington mulls the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on another US$16 billion of Chinese goods on Aug. 23, in addition to the duties imposed by both countries on US$34 billion of each other's goods to date.

Under such a situation, Taiwanese businesses face huge challenges in terms of their global deployment strategies and trade relations with China, which, she said, requires a comprehensive industrial upgrade to boost Taiwan's overall competitiveness and national strength in the coming decades.

Tsai asked the NSC to work in concert with the administrative branch and, depending on how the situation evolves, draft concrete plans to assist China-based Taiwan businessmen to relocate their investment back to Taiwan or countries targeted by the government's New Southbound Policy, thereby helping them minimize the adverse effects of the trade war.

The government should help those industries or individual companies impacted and set up a fund if necessary to carry out relevant plans, Tsai directed.

In addition, she instructed the government to accelerate its implementation of measures to boost local consumption and demand, thereby minimizing the impact on the domestic economy from the U.S.-China trade battle.

Meanwhile, the government should also keep close tabs on the protectionist measures adopted by other countries and devise countermeasures in line with World Trade Organization rules, Tsai said, adding that the agencies in charge of Taiwan's foreign trade affairs must strengthen their monitoring mechanisms and further sharpen their management of the nation's export businesses.

Finally, Tsai called for the speedy and effective implementation of the New Southbound Policy as a vehicle for Taiwan joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) at an early date, while also helping Taiwanese companies diversify their export markets and production bases.

At the same time, the government needs to devise new assessment and action mechanisms to cope with the needs of firms that embrace the New Southbound Policy, Tsai said.

To that end, she asked the Economic and Trade Negotiation Office and NSC to draft action plans on economic integration projects with countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy and proposed the formation of a youth corp to help promote relations with those countries.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Flor Wang)
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