Engineers see risk in trade pact

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 07, 2013 - Page 3

Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese computer engineers would likely be hurt by the cross-strait service trade agreement due to the potential influx of cheaper Chinese workers, computer software representatives said yesterday.

“Young entry-level engineers are likely to be the first batch of victims of the pact because they could be replaced by cheaper, more experienced Chinese counterparts,” computer engineer Shen Chia-hung (沈佳弘) told a press conference organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

A public hearing on the potential impact of the agreement on the computer industry will be held today at the Legislative Yuan.

Shen said national security would also be a concern if Chinese engineers are hired to work by companies that have won government contracts because they might spy for Beijing.

Software company owner Chien Wen-nan (錢文南) said there would be an advantage to hiring Chinese white-collar workers because firms would not be required to pay them the minimum monthly wage.

The government’s liberalization of Taiwan’s Type II telecommunications business has ignored an important key point by underestimated Beijing’s influence via the Internet, he said.

“Nowadays people spend more time on the Internet than on the telephone, which is why if Chinese investment is allowed in the telecommunications industry, news censorship and surveillance could be an issue,” Shen said.

The agreement allows Chinese firms to send its white-collar employees to Taiwan for up to three years, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said.