Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday defended the service trade agreement with China, saying that it is a road Taiwan must take and that those who seek to mislead the public would only scupper the nation’s chances of survival in the global market.
Jiang was speaking at a forum on the cross-strait agreement in Taipei, which was held one day after the one-month anniversary of its signing by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, Taiwan, at the request of the Mainland Affairs Council.
His speech was momentarily interrupted when two college students shouted: “Forced and violent demolitions, the government is a murderer” and “[You] tear down Dapu today, [We will] bring down the government tomorrow.”
They were quickly taken away by security.
The students were referring to the forced demolition of four houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) on Thursday last week, ordered by Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), who insisted that the houses be torn down to make way for a science park.
“The government has held a series of forums since the treaty was inked, yet some local media have only reported news of people protesting against the agreement, which service industries may bear the brunt of the accord and how they could be forced out of business once Chinese investments are allowed into the country,” Jiang said.
“However, these media have neglected one thing — the real reason behind Taiwan endeavoring to sign trade agreements with other nations and regions,” Jiang said.
He said that although Taiwan has scarce natural resources, it has managed to gain a foothold in the international market, bring about economic prosperity and achieve social stability over the past decades.
“These achievements are the result of the free and open road the nation has chosen for itself. It has opened the nation’s doors to foreign competitors, stimulated industry transformation and upgrade, and facilitated the development of a pattern of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation,” Jiang said.
This road also led the country to the economic miracles in the 1970s and enabled its people to look to the future with confidence, Jiang added.
He said the treaty was signed based on the aforementioned strategic orientations for Taiwan’s development, adding that the nation would never choose protectionism and create a self-enclosed market as some have hoped for.
History has shown that the economic development of nations that adopt protectionism is doomed to fail, and only countries and areas that open up their economies and work to overcome difficulties, such as Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, are able to create opportunities for future economic development.
Under the service trade pact, 64 Taiwanese industries will be opened to Chinese investment, including e-commerce, transportation, finance, medical care, nursing, theater, funeral planning, beauty parlors and online gaming, while China will open up 80 industries to Taiwan.
Jiang said most online gaming operators he recently visited spoke highly of the agreement.
“They said that because the treaty would shorten the processing time required for Taiwan-made online games to receive a market permit in China from six months or more to only two months, it could help prevent knock-off products from hitting the Chinese market before they do,” Jiang said.
Jiang said Taiwan’s online gaming sector has seen rapid growth in value because it integrates the nation’s most competitive information and communications technology industry with advanced animation and audio-video technologies.
“With the inking of the agreement, it will now also be able map out its own ‘blue ocean’ strategy to help it gain ground in China,” Jiang said.