Local trade and industrial groups expressed mixed reactions yesterday to the idea of setting up offices in China, which will be high on the agenda of an upcoming economic meeting between Taiwan and China.
The first meeting of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Committee, formed under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed by the two countries in June last year, will be held in Taipei next week.
Both the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA, 電電公會) were keen on the idea, while the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 工總) was lukewarm.
Luo Huai-jia (羅懷家), TEEMA deputy secretary-general, said the association currently has six liaison offices in China, including in Shanghai and Dongguan.
“The association is now awaiting government approval to upgrade its six locations into representative offices,” Luo said.
He said the benefits of the offices would be to provide a conduit for members to exchange information, help manufacturers attend exhibitions in China and increase their market share in China.
He cited as an example the more than 30 exhibitions related to electric and electronic products in China this year, which he said the association would help Taiwanese manufacturers attend.
As cross-strait exchanges continue to grow, the association also plans to set up new footholds in Xian, Chongqing, Chengdu and Beijing this year.
In contrast, the CNFI said that setting up an office in China would depend on how big of an impact it would have.
The federation estimated that setting up an office in China would cost between NT$4 million (US$136,000) and NT$5 million a year just in personnel expenses, rent excluded.
The federation said China sounded out its intention to set up a CNFI office in Nanjing several years ago and offered free office space, but it declined the offer because it was not needed.