As of June, China had set up 25 “Taiwanese farmers’ enterprise parks” in 12 of its provinces and municipalities. The Legislative Yuan’s Budget Center says that this trend is now causing grave worries about an outflow of agricultural talent and technology from Taiwan, and it says that the likelihood of Chinese farm produce being sold back to Taiwan has greatly increased.
In fact, many techniques associated with farm produce varieties on which Taiwan prides itself, such as orchids, golden diamond pineapples and golden mangoes, have already leaked out.
In the case of oolong tea, the varieties themselves, along with the full set of associated manufacturing techniques, have been completely transplanted to China. The consequences of such actions are more far--reaching than tea being sold back to Taiwan. Export competition from China has greatly increased and China has taken over Taiwan’s position in the world market.
In 1992, Taiwan and China accounted for equal portions of Japan’s imports of agricultural products at about 7 percent each, but by 2009 China’s share had risen to 12.44 percent, while Taiwan’s fell to just 1.18 percent.
Unfortunately, these “Taiwanese farmers’ enterprise parks” stem from a communique, signed by Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General--Secretary Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) on April 29, 2005, calling for “carrying out agricultural and fishery cooperation [and] resolving the problem of selling Taiwanese agricultural products on the mainland.”
At the annual Boao Forum for Asia conference on Oct. 17 of the same year, the KMT and CCP went a step further by holding a forum on cross-strait agricultural cooperation, at which they arrived at the following common understandings. First, to complete the construction of agricultural cooperative experimental zones and Taiwanese farmers’ enterprise parks. Second, to encourage and support agricultural cooperation and disseminate know-how, and to broaden the scope of cooperation. Third, to facilitate trade in agricultural products and sales of products made by Taiwan-invested agricultural enterprises in China. Fourth, to protect Taiwanese agricultural products and intellectual property rights, so as to uphold the legitimate rights of Taiwanese farmers.
A careful look at these four points clearly reveals the strategy of the KMT and CCP, which was to send Taiwanese technical talent and capital to China, while Beijing compensates Taiwanese farmers by buying more agricultural products in exchange. In other words, the expectation that Taiwan would swap its golden-egg-laying hen for plain old chicken’s eggs from China.
The KMT would like people to think that it is trying to give poor, hard-working Taiwanese farmers a “second springtime.” In reality, however, this trend, headed as it is by a number of retired Council of Agriculture officials, has only brought a “second springtime” to a few rich farmers, farmers’ association officers, merchants, former council officials and agricultural experts. These people have headed off to China one after another to invest or work as advisers. They have replicated Taiwan’s agricultural experience, adopted its excellent varieties and applied its advanced techniques and business management models in China.