President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday led government officials in explaining the cross-strait service trade agreement at a forum in Greater Taichung in a bid to ease concerns about its impact on local businesses.
Ma said that failing to implement the pact would damage Taiwan’s reputation.
The pact, which was signed on June 21, would open 64 domestic industries in the service sector to Chinese investment. China, on the other hand, would allow Taiwanese investment in 80 businesses in the sector.
Ma dismissed criticism that the pact would damage local service industries, insisting that opening up the service sector would prepare the nation for free-trade agreements and facilitate the nation’s efforts to join regional economic and trade pacts.
“We have no reason to be pessimistic about the agreement or to be afraid of its impact. The government will try its best to minimize possible damage and maximize the business opportunities the agreement can create,” he told the forum at the Tempus Hotel.
The forum is the first in a series of meetings organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs with representatives of companies in the service sector aimed at easing their concerns about the pact’s impact.
Citing the examples of the beauty salon and hair industry, Ma said any Chinese companies that are planning to invest in the industries would go through a strict examination. He also said that the government would not allow Chinese workers to enter Taiwan.
“Only supervisors or those in management-level positions at Chinese companies are allowed to come to Taiwan. Besides, Chinese investment [in the service sector] will create more job opportunities in Taiwan,” he said.
The cross-strait service trade agreement is a follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which was signed in 2010. Ma said the government would continue to discuss trade agreements with China.
“The world has paid close attention to our signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement. Taiwan’s international reputation would be affected if we failed to implement the agreement,” Ma said.
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