Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) said on Thursday at a Taiwanese business forum in Nantong in China’s Jiangsu Province that cross-strait relations are in their best state in six decades, but the two sides should improve cooperation in the services sector.
Lin said that the Taiwanese and Chinese governments need to provide support for service industries on both sides, including financial support and human resources, to help them cope with a shortage of workers while undergoing industrial transformation.
Lin was addressing attendees at a summit on Taiwanese companies’ industrial transformation and improvements in Nantong.
At the summit, Lin’s Chinese counterpart, Chen Deming (陳德銘), the head of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, said that Taiwanese students should support the cross-strait service trade agreement, as it will provide many jobs.
For instance, China offers a massive market for health services and senior nursing, and Taiwan can use its advantages of having a common culture and language with China to venture into the Chinese market, Chen said.
Once Taiwan opens its service sector, it could gain enormous momentum for economic growth, Chen said.
His comments come on the heels of a student-led movement held in Taiwan from mid-March to early last month that blocked a trade pact Taiwan signed with China from being approved by the legislature.
Taiwan’s trade in services ranked 26th in the world, even lagging behind Macau’s 24th, Chen said.
This shows that if it opens up its service sector, enormous business opportunities could be created.
Chen, who resigned as minister of commerce last year, said that while world trade in goods fell last year, trade in services grew 5 percent.
He said the two sides should keep abreast of the new wave of industrial revolution characterized by artificial intelligence to develop their services industry.