Ex-VP charts course for cross-strait cooperation

By Enru Lin, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Future cross-strait economic cooperation should aim to benefit the public in tangible ways and to distribute the benefits to all, said former Vice President Vincent Siew (���U��) in Taipei yesterday. Siew, the chief convener of the annual Cross-strait CEO Summit (�⩤���~�a�p�|) in Taipei, yesterday urged about 800 business leaders to move in two directions during upcoming bilateral cooperation. ��The first is having people experience [the results of bilateral cooperation], and the second is distributing the benefits to everyone,�� Siew said in his keynote address. Siew said the ��new directions�� may bolster flagging public confidence in the bilateral relationship. The Cross-strait Trade in Services Agreement has inflamed extreme conflict in Taiwan’s society, he said. ��Although cross-strait cooperation is an irreversible trend, there must be changes and adjustments made over a variety of concerns and related questions, in order to increase public confidence and work through the bottleneck [in cross-strait liberalization],�� he said. Siew outlined several strategies that industry leaders can use to deliver shared and tangible benefits. He called on businesses to deepen cooperative ventures in the service industry, and to establish platforms for marketing and research and development (R&D). Industry leaders on both sides should also sidestep mutual competition and instead combine their strengths, pool resources and build shared brands in a joint expansion plan into regional and global markets, he said. On SMEs Siew also urged industry chiefs to accelerate ventures aimed at upgrading small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on both sides. ��SMES are the backbone of a market economy and the main engine of cross-strait economic cooperation,�� he said. Joint efforts in personnel training �X particularly the training of young talent �X and extensions of small loans across the Strait can upgrade SMEs on both sides and allow bilateral ventures to be felt ��at the grassroots.�� Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (�L����) of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council and former Chinese vice premier Zeng Peiyan (������) seconded Siew, urging industry leaders to pave the way for increased cooperation between smaller businesses.