Premier Sean C. Chen on May 23 directed government agencies to accelerate follow-up negotiations on the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), with the aim of completing the talks by the end of 2013 as instructed by President Ma Ying-jeou.
"The ECFA is crucial for Taiwan's integration into the global economic system and for signing free trade agreements (FTA) with other countries," said Chen, adding that agencies should adopt a spirit of "elaboration, cooperation, foresight and achievement" when negotiating with the mainland Chinese side on follow-up matters.
The premier urged the heads of relevant agencies to assign priority to these negotiations and to set up task forces supervised by themselves or their deputies to handle affairs relating to the ECFA or FTAs.
Beyond simply overseeing industries, government agencies should also provide guidance and spur industrial growth, Chen pointed out. When formulating policies on the ECFA or planning overall operations, the agencies must live up to these roles especially amid the challenges of globalization and regional economic integration. They should communicate more closely with the businesses under their oversight, provide accurate information, and help vulnerable industries restructure and take advantage of opportunities brought by the ECFA or FTAs.
Chen stressed that all organizations under the Executive Yuan should work closely to complete the ECFA follow-up negotiations.
"ECFA is not the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)," Chen said.
The premier also asked the MOEA to organize a seminar within one week for top officials of agencies involved with the ECFA to discuss negotiation matters, policies for upgrading industries, as well as the ECFA's effect on Taiwan's economic development.