The government is considering establishing stores in big cities to sell authentic made-in-Taiwan (MIT) products as part of its effort to curb rampant Chinese counterfeiting, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday.
Lai said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Wednesday instructed the Ministry of Economic Affairs to set up a task force in charge of cracking down on smuggled Chinese goods when he visited a bedding company in Tainan and after listening to the grievances of business representatives.
Ma’s visit was part of his nationwide campaign to promote an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) the administration intends to sign with Beijing next month.
Lai said the government hoped the trial-run stores would allow consumers easier access to the 4,000 locally made products with made-in-Taiwan authentication, which guarantees high quality and reasonable prices.
Lai accused the former Democratic Progressive Party administration of doing a bad job on cracking down on Chinese contraband and therefore creating an unfair environment for local businesses that had to compete with cheaper and inferior Chinese bootlegged products.
On an ECFA, Lai said that while 17 traditional businesses could be hurt by the proposed accord, the negotiating team would “do its best” to exclude them from the “early harvest” list.
The “early harvest” list refers to a list of goods and services that will be subject to immediate tariff concessions or exemptions, which are expected to form the backbone of the proposed deal.
Lai said Taipei and Beijing agreed during the last round of negotiations in Taoyuan last month that China would “do its best” to prevent the trade pact from affecting Taiwan’s weaker industries.
“The firewall is secured,” she said.
While neither side revealed their “early harvest” lists during the last round of negotiations, Lai said yesterday that if the items China wished to include in the “early harvest” list were businesses targeting the local market, it would definitely deal a significant blow to them because local Taiwanese products would have to compete with cheaper Chinese products.
Lai denied that the country is compelled by the WTO to open up 90 percent of the market to China within 10 years after the trade deal is signed.
“It is not compulsory,” she said. “An ECFA is not a free-trade agreement demanding the parties to open up their respective markets immediately after the agreement is signed. An ECFA is an economic agreement in the spirit of the WTO, but it has the unique features of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”
There was too much “false information” and “misunderstanding” about an ECFA, she said, adding that the administration would “proceed gradually and carefully every step on the way” and take into consideration the development of the country’s overall economy and business sectors during the process.
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
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