More honest than Ma
Although he was stating the obvious, it was music to my ears to hear Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) say that China is Taiwan’s enemy (“Taiwan-China ties remain adversarial: minister of defense,” Oct. 22, page 4).
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) recently said that relations between China and Taiwans are not international relations. This statement was obviously well-received in China, where it likely made the Chinese Communist Party jump up and down with joy.
Through his efforts to placate China by making such a statement, Ma has insulted Taiwanese and in particular, the military.
Yen is stating the obvious when he says that China and Taiwan are adversaries, especially when one considers that China has 1,700 missiles aimed at Taiwan.
Thank you for speaking the truth, Minister Yen.
Service pact can hurt schools
The signing in June of the cross-strait service trade agreement in Shanghai will have a huge impact on the private language learning environment in Taiwan and across the Taiwan Strait in China. The pact, which is currently being stifled in the legislature by opposition groups, will certainly include the private language school sector.
The largest organizations in Taiwan will be able to benefit from economies of scale by expanding into China. The largest private language school in the nation already has a branch across the Strait. It will certainly be eager to gain access to the rest of the lucrative Chinese market, if the service pact is passed.
In addition to the service pact, a proposed amendment to the Supplementary Education Act (補習及教育進修法) is also being stifled in the legislature. The draft amendment is aimed at introducing stricter regulations on private language education for children in cram schools under the age of six.
An article appeared on the Taipei Times’ front page regarding this amendment and its proposed impact on private language learning in cram schools (“Stricter rules on language learning for kids proposed,” Aug. 30, page 1).
Will a free-trade agreement between Taiwan and China really benefit the whole private language sector in Taiwan, or will only the largest organizations survive? How can the smaller language schools benefit? Will they be able to survive in the tough business world where the larger organizations can benefit from economies of scale?
The service trade agreement will allow large amounts of Taiwanese capital to leave these shores. Taiwanese private language schools will be able to open many new branches in Chinese cities. The service pact does not stipulate where the company should declare its income, ie in Taiwan or China. So, which government would receive the schools’ corporate tax?
The service trade pact must be debated in the legislature by politicians and the input of economics professors must be considered. Close economic integration between China and Taiwan will inevitably lead to arguments over tax harmonization and therefore, closer political integration will be the next logical step.
Taiwan needs to look at the EU as a model. The bloc is currently experiencing a recession and countries within it that have higher taxation rates are undergoing tough austerity measures to try to balance their books. European politicians cannot agree on tax harmonization rates across the EU.