The cross-strait service trade agreement will not open Taiwan’s hairdressing industry to Chinese workers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
The ministry’s remark came after the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported the cross-strait service trade agreement, which is set to be inked later this month, may affect 300,000 people in Taiwan’s hairdressing industry if Chinese workers are allowed to enter the market under the pact.
The ministry said the cross-strait service trade agreement will allow Chinese investments in the sector in Taiwan, adding that this would help create domestic job opportunities.
“The ministry has collected opinions from many people in Taiwan’s hairdressing sector. Many agreed that inviting Chinese investment would be positive for the sector,” the ministry said in a statement.
This remark contradicted the newspaper’s report, which said nobody in the sector had been invited by any government agencies to offer their input.
Bureau of Foreign Trade deputy director-general Cynthia Kiang (江文若) yesterday declined to specify who had offered comments on the agreement.
Kiang said by telephone that the ministry had sought advice from all relevant market players and most gave positive feedback to the ministry.
The ministry stressed that under the cross-strait service trade agreement, the government will give permission only for large enterprises that have capital of at least US$200,000 to establish units in Taiwan.
The government may turn down any application that fails to meet criteria during its assessment, the ministry added.
Asked to use a dollar figure to detail the potential impact on Taiwan’s economy and hairdressing industry at a meeting held by the legislature’s Home and Nations Committee on Thursday, the ministry said “there is no way to quantify services or its market value,” the Liberty Times reported.
The ministry yesterday reiterated that the government cannot provide actual figures or carry out quantitative analyses to present to the public the impact of the service trade agreement in dollar terms, but it would continue to release further information and seek input from the local industry.
The financial, medical, telecommunication, nursing, theater, funeral planning, hairdressing and car leasing industries have all been listed as markets set to be opened for Chinese investment, according to the newspaper.
A total of 55 industries in Taiwan had been picked to open markets for Chinese investment under the agreement, the ministry said.