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Taiwan Plans Economic Cooperation Deal With N.Z., India, Israel

Taiwan will study possible economic-cooperation agreements with New Zealand, India and the Philippines and may hold a workshop with Israel by 2013 on a feasibility study for a free-trade agreement.

The island, which wants to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership within 10 years, will also continue free-trade talks with Singapore, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang told reporters at a briefing in Taipei today.

Taiwan and its former civil-war foe China signed their first trade deal last year, part of a rapprochement that’s given Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou room to seek similar accords with neighbors without irking officials in Beijing. Taiwan’s first investment accord with Japan, its second-biggest trading partner, was signed in September.

“We are a trade-dependent economy, and it’s important to ensure our companies have free excess to global trade,” Shih said. He said he is confident the island’s economy will grow 4.3 percent next year, a target set out by the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

Taiwan’s export-led economy expanded 3.42 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, the slowest pace since a 1.21 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2009.

The island’s statistic bureau last month forecasted Taiwan’s economy will growth 4.19 percent next year.

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