Tue, Nov 27, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DPP voices opposition to easing agricultural rules

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday voiced its strong opposition to further relaxation of rules governing Chinese agricultural imports, which it said could cause a loss of more than NT$11.1 billion (US$382 million).

“When most countries are setting up a firewall to protect their own agricultural products from the impact of globalization, Taiwan’s government is doing the opposite,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

Pan said the DPP is opposed to a reported government plan to allow importation of at least 17 Chinese agricultural products requested by Beijing during the negotiations of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

China made the request according to the WTO’s Most Favored Nation clause.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has ignored the agricultural sector since he took office, turning a blind eye to agricultural technology transfers to China and sacrificing agriculture in trade talks, Pan said.

Ma has failed to keep a campaign promise not to relax the bar on importation of 830 Chinese agricultural products, DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

An analysis done by National Taiwan University professor Yang Ping-shih (楊平世) showed that if the 17 categories of products, which could include apples, pears, grapes and peaches, were opened, the loss to local farmers could be as high as NT$11.1 billion.

While Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) has pledged that Taiwanese products would not be listed as prioritized options, Chinese imports would inevitably squeeze out local products, according to Yang’s analysis, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.

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