Experts at a forum on economics yesterday said the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which came into force yesterday, would exacerbate income disparity and unemployment in Taiwan.
Chiou Jiunn-rong (邱俊榮), a professor of economics at National Central University, said President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration focused too much on GDP growth and relied too much on the manufacturing industry, which risked retarding the development of the service industry and restricting employment opportunities.
“The ECFA will add more bubbles to the top of the country’s economic bubble,” he told the forum, organized by Taiwan Thinktank.
Titled “The Economy Grows for Who?,” the event sought to prescribe remedies for the widening gap between rich and poor, and propose strategies for future economic development.
“The administration hopes the ECFA will remove taxes imposed on China-bound exports, but what will happen is ‘triangular trade’ will become more prevalent, production will concentrate more in China and industrial capitalists will make more money, while the disadvantaged become poorer,” Chiou said.
Triangular trade refers to orders that are taken in Taiwan for goods made abroad — usually in China — which does nothing to improve Taiwan’s employment situation or stimulate domestic demand.
As a result of its overemphasis on GDP growth, Chiou said the administration spent too much time and money tackling the problems of the Central Taiwan Science Park and Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology. The excessive government subsidies for the manufacturing industry also distorted the use of limited public resources, he said.
The uneven allocation of education resources also exacerbated the problem, he said. Extending the nine-year compulsory education to 12 years would not fix the problem, he said, urging the government to consider issuing educational vouchers so that children from disadvantaged families could afford higher education.
In addition to changing government policies on economic development, Guo Jiann-jong (郭建中), director of the Graduate Institute of Mainland Studies at Tamkang University, proposed the expanded use of free-trade zones.
“China and the other countries we sign free-trade agreements with should not be our sole free-trade areas,” Guo said. “We have free-trade zones in Taipei, Keelung, Taichung and Kaohsiung operating 24 hours a day.”
Guo also said the government should encourage young people to start businesses, preferably in the service industry. The service industry should work with academic institutions to train talent, while the government should offer the necessary funding, Guo said.
The academic system must also change from providing students with degrees to teaching them critical thinking and competitiveness, he said.
The administration must also avoid separating the minimum wage of local workers from their foreign counterparts, Guo said.
Lee Chien-hung (李健鴻), a professor at the Chinese Culture University’s Graduate Institute of Labor Science, said the administration ignored problems associated with “new poverty” and “working poor,” and did not have policies to address these problems.
“The government’s liberalization policy will only make things worse,” he said.
Saying unpaid leave was illegal, Lee said Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) deserved condemnation for saying earlier this month that its inventor deserved a Nobel prize.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of