Airlines and unions split on trade pact

READY FOR TAKEOFF::Airlines such as EVA Air and China Airlines urged the government to speed up ratification of the cross-strait trade agreement

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 08, 2013 - Page 4

Aviation industry representatives were divided on the cross-strait service trade agreement at a public hearing yesterday, with airlines welcoming market liberalization while airport operators and unions expressed concerns about increased competition.

The hearing at the Legislative Yuan, was the seventh of 16 hearings scheduled in the current legislative session, which aim to gather businesspeople from various sectors to discuss the pact, which is to be assessed and voted on by lawmakers.

The discussions covered a wide range of industry sub-sectors, including cargo, airline services and sales, and airport services.

Airlines such as EVA Air and China Airlines urged the government to speed up ratification of the pact.

“Taiwan should leverage China’s huge market and Taiwan’s proximity to China,” Liao Chih-wei (廖至維), an EVA Air representative said.

Liberalization of air transport operations is expected to benefit local tourism, they said.

However, Yao Kuang-tsu (姚光祖), secretary-general of the Taoyuan County Trade Union, said workers were concerned because past liberalization had created fierce competition and resulted in lower wages.

Chen Kuo-hsun (陳國勳) of the Taoyuan International Airport Service Trade Union and Huang Shu-hui (黃淑惠), representing the national drivers union, urged the government to protect local jobs.

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) pledged that only Chinese investment would be allowed, while restrictions on Chinese workers would remain.