Taiwan’s top economic planner called Thursday for closer trade ties with China to ensure the island is not left behind by the free trade deals being struck in the region, the Wall Street Journal reported. Chen Tain-Jy, minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, is concerned that manufacturers will leave Taiwan in favor of countries that have lower trade barriers with China. For example, China buys about half of Taiwan’s petrochemical product exports, paying a tariff of 6.5%. In ASEAN countries, the tariff is just 0.98% and is likely to fall to 0.25% by 2010. Separately, Chinatrust Financial, Taiwan’s biggest credit card issuer, said it would set up a subsidiary in China when such investment is permitted. Cathay Financial earlier said it planned to invest US$3 billion in China stocks and real estate if and when the regulator eases restrictions.
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