Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) yesterday accused the government of failing to improve the nation’s investment environment by wrongly resorting to Chinese capital as the sole remedy for the nation’s economics woes.
Taiwan is not short of capital, but needs a healthy investment environment to attract domestic and foreign capital, Huang said at a press conference held to address concerns that allowing Chinese investment in the local market would jeopardize Taiwan’s national security.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced on Tuesday that with immediate effect, Chinese firms would be allowed to invest in 100 types of Taiwanese industries, ranging from manufacturing and services to commercial port facilities.
On the same day, the ministry also released the regulations that would govern applications by Chinese businesses seeking to open subsidiaries or branch offices in Taiwan. The MOEA said that Chinese investment would only be allowed in the non-restricted zones of commercial ports, such as warehouses, transit hotels, international conference centers and parking lots. The ministry added that Chinese capital would not be authorized to enter restricted areas, including airports, runways or repair and maintenance plants.Nor will Chinese investments be allowed to enter the monopoly industries such as water, electricity and fuel suppliers. Business sectors that play a key role in domestic economic development, financial stability and national security will also be off limits, the MOEA said.
Unconvinced, National Taiwan University economics professor Kenneth Lin (林向愷) said at the press conference yesterday that opening Taiwan to Chinese investment “would allow Chinese to form a powerful pro-China group in Taiwan.”
The group would influence Taiwanese politics, win seats for elected officials, promote unification with China and destroy democratic system in Taiwan, Lin said.
Lin said that some Taiwanese enterprises have chosen to open businesses in China because of globalization and that some have decided to stay put because they hope to keep their technological advantage. However, Lin said that after the government allows Chinese businesses to invest in Taiwan, companies in possession of advanced technologies will become the primary target of Chinese capital, adding that Chinese companies would work to “steal” their technology.
Lin said most Chinese capital investments in Taiwan would originate from China’s state-run enterprises because they don’t need to worry about investment loss.
“In short, their investments will be political, not economical,” Lin said.
Responding to the concerns, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he did not believe Chinese investment would jeopardize the nation’s national security.
“The one-way flow of Taiwanese capital to China is very inequitable. Why should Chinese investment not flow to Taiwan?” he asked at a press conference in Panama City during his on-going Central American visit.
Ma said the government would not open all domestic markets to China.
“We will not keep Taiwan’s door wide open for China ... Items that involve Taiwan’s national security and national defense are not open to China. The government will take cautious steps,” he said.
Ma said the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had opened about 800 to 900 agricultural products to Chinese investment during the past eight years, bringing the total number of agricultural products Chinese can invest in to more than 1,000.