The real purpose of this services trade agreement is to use the name of “investment” to cover up the truth of Chinese laborers gaining legal entry into Taiwan.
With this agreement, Chinese laborers will be able to use investment as a way of obtaining legal residency status in Taiwan.
Investment in the service sector will merely be a front, with a massive influx of low-waged Chinese laborers being the real motive.
With this political motive in mind, it is very easy to see why China demanded that Taiwan open up the “non-licensed,” lower-level parts of the service industry.
First, China demanded that Taiwan open up parts of the service sector that are more labor-intensive because this will allow large amounts of Chinese laborers to move over to Taiwan.
Second, by opening up the less-skilled parts of the service sector, even average Chinese laborers without any specialized training will be able to move to and live in Taiwan.
Eventually, this agreement will end up mainly covering industries that require small amounts of capital, with families of average means in China being able to invest and move over.
It is foreseeable that once this agreement comes into effect, the nation will be hit with a massive influx of Chinese nationals, who use the name of “investment” to move and even settle down here, even when the firms they originally invested in stop operation.
This being the case, they will be able to continue to enjoy the nation’s various public services and infrastructure, even though they do not pay any taxes.
The small investments they make to move over to Taiwan will be of no help to the nation when it comes to the accumulation of economic capital.
The unskilled labor they provide will also be of no use to increasing the quality of Taiwan’s service sector.
Also, once the nation is hit with a huge influx of low-waged Chinese workers, unemployment, which is already a huge problem in Taiwan, will spread from the manufacturing sector to the service sector.
Ma is clear about the repercussions of a cross-strait agreement in service trade and this is why he is trying to use what he calls a “trade agreement” to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
He is obfuscating the huge social costs that an actual “investment agreement” is about to bring to Taiwan.
This is also why the government has focused on what parts of the service sector will be opened up and the related conditions for doing so.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties and the public have unfortunately limited their focus to trade issues.
They have only raised questions about the impacts this agreement will have on our industries, while totally ignoring the disastrous political ramifications it is likely to spell for the nation.
Tario Ong is a Canada-based commentator.
Translated by Drew Cameron