Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lee stresses need to guard local agricultural assets

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said he did not oppose agricultural exchanges with China, but emphasized that the exchanges must be based on reciprocity and mutual benefit.

"The exportation of Taiwan's agricultural technology has dealt a significant blow to the local agricultural sector," Lee said.

"As we still have the advantage of systematically managing agriculture, there are still bright prospects for the nation's agricultural industry if the government could `mend the pen after the sheep have been stolen,'" he said.

Lee made the remarks in a written address delivered at the agricultural summit organized by Taiwan Advocates.

Lee, who serves as chairman of the organization, did not attend the event but had his speech read out.

Lee said that agricultural exchanges across the Taiwan Strait cover three main areas: agricultural produce, agricultural technology and agricultural personnel.

Agricultural trade may have a short-term positive impact on the local market, but may make it overly dependent on China in the long run, he said.

The lack of transparency and stability in the Chinese market, Lee said, endangers the production and marketing of local produce.

The imbalanced exportation of agricultural technology and personnel to China has also caused the nation's agricultural sector to lose its competitive edge, he said.

"The government must strengthen mechanisms to protect the agricultural property rights of local producers and draft measures to prevent high-end agricultural technology from getting into Chinese hands," he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) yesterday lambasted former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who is in China for an agricultural summit, for praising China while criticizing the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration.

"We find it unacceptable," Liu said. "Before he lauded Beijing, he should have taken a look at its notorious human rights record."

Liu urged Lien to use his wisdom to press Beijing to safeguard human rights. He added that Lien should realize that it was political gridlock that drove the Taiwanese government into an idle spin, instead of lashing out at the administration.

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