Sun, Jan 12, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Sacrificing Taiwan’s service industry

By Chen Mao-hsiung 陳茂雄

The pan-green camp is trying hard to block the cross-strait service trade agreement, both in the legislature and through mass campaigns.

Many experts are talking about how this agreement will hurt Taiwan, although the general public is too busy making a living to have the time and energy required to gain an understanding of what is going on in the world of politics.

This is also why most of the active opposition to the agreement comes from the pan-green camp and those opposed to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

There is no need to try to understand details of the agreement, as simple reasoning is enough to make the public understand the damage it could inflict on the nation.

Taiwan’s service industry consists mainly of small businesses that are already under pressure from big business.

If big Chinese corporations are allowed to enter Taiwan, small business operators will come under even more pressure. However, the Ma administration does not concern itself with these small enterprises.

Big corporations are the only ones that stand to gain from the service trade agreement, as they have the resources to expand into the Chinese market.

However, the Chinese market is huge, and Taiwanese businesses will not have much of an impact on it.

This is very different from the small Taiwanese market, which will not be able to withstand the onslaught of Chinese firms.

It is clear that the companies that will benefit from the trade agreement are the ones already operating on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, whereas the small companies in the domestic service industry will be stuck with the short end of the stick.

The question that should be asked is: Why does the Ma administration want to sacrifice the nation’s many small business operators for the benefit of a few big corporations?

Most people think the resources supporting the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) interests come from its party assets, but the benefits these assets bring to the party are small in comparison to the resources it gets from business owners.

However, these business owners do not contribute resources to the party without getting anything in return, so it is a mutual exchange in which the government uses its power to pay back business owners.

It is like the government is taking money in exchange for protecting those businesses.

Everyone gets upset when organized crime extorts protection money, but the biggest offender in this respect are not organized crime ventures, it is the government.

The KMT is not the only party that has aligned with business owners.

The Liberal Democratic Party in Japan has done the same thing, but since Japan has strict regulations controlling political contributions, collusion between government and big business is not too outrageous.

The KMT is different, because it has made protection for money a system and has ways of laundering the illicit funds.

The money from business owners goes to the party coffers, and the party then passes it on to individual politicians.

Therefore, there is a quid pro quo relationship between political parties and big business that turns such payments into a so-called “political contribution” instead of bribes.

This relationship allows the party to take protection money and launder it via the party coffers.

Chen Mao-hsiung is a retired National Sun Yat-sen University professor and a member of the Northern Taiwan Society.

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