Opposition lawmakers yesterday called on the government to implement more robust policies to better protect Taiwan from Chinese economic and military aggression.
Citing China’s ban on products from 100 Taiwanese companies announced on Monday, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) said the government should implement four measures to better protect agricultural producers.
It should establish a dedicated consulting and counseling unit, and a dedicated hotline to provide assistance to affected businesses, he said.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
It should also expand overseas markets for Taiwanese products, improve inspection of agricultural products before export and negotiate agricultural trade agreements with several nations, he said.
The largest market for many of Taiwan’s agricultural and fisheries products is China, TPP Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said, citing groupers and beltfish, 90 percent of which are sold to China.
The proportion of mackerel sold to China has also increased from 49 percent last year to 72 percent this year, he said.
In response, Bureau of Foreign Trade Deputy Director-General Lee Guann-jyh (李冠志) said the government is diversifying export markets of products such as processed foods, of which the US buys 30 percent, while China buys only 12 percent.
Council of Agriculture Department of International Affairs Deputy Director Lin Chih-hung (林志鴻) said his office is also busy working on expanding overseas markets.
It is providing incentives and subsidies for grouper sales to overseas markets and had already exported 151 tonnes of the fish as of Sunday, he said, adding that it is aiming for 300 tonnes by the end of the year.
The proportion of fresh fruit sold to China was also reduced to 41 percent last year from 84 percent the year before, he said.
Separately, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators urged the government not to employ an “anti-China protectionist” economic policy as a tactic to perform well in the local elections in November.
The government should provide necessary assistance and subsidies to companies, farmers and fishers affected by China’s import bans, KMT caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗) said.
“The government should assume that China would take retaliatory economic measures one after another, and should put forward a specific plan and to assist affected industries,” he said.
The government should restore the 2008 Cross-Strait Food Safety Agreement (海峽兩岸食品安全協議) and reopen cross-strait channels of communication as soon as possible, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lee De-wei (李德維) said.
KMT Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) criticized a rural tourism lottery implemented by the Council of Agriculture as a means of boosting revenue for farmers, saying the measure was far from adequate.
“The council should appeal to the WTO and fight for Taiwanese farmers’ and fishers’ rights,” he said.
Netflix on Wednesday said it is to charge NT$100 more per month for each user that is not part of the same household. Under the plan, the streaming service is to limit viewership to people who live in the same household. If a member wishes to add people outside of their address, they must pay NT$100 more per person every month. No additional viewers can be added to the NT$270 per month “basic” account. “Standard” accounts (NT$330) can add one user, while “premium” (NT$390) accounts can add two users. The company has said that people in the same household would still be able
PRESSURE POINT: Beijing might seek to lean on Musk to prevent his SpaceX from providing Taiwan access to its Starlink satellite system, ‘The Economist’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) called out Elon Musk on Twitter, saying the value of democracy transcends that of money after the Tesla CEO said that China was likely to “integrate” Taiwan. Asked in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday last week if “China would make a move to take control of Taiwan,” Musk said that “the official policy of China is that Taiwan should be integrated... One does not need to read between the lines.” “There is a certain inevitability to the situation,” he added. “That is their policy, and I think you should take their word seriously,” Musk said. Regarding
VIGILANCE: The mask mandate would remain in effect at healthcare facilities, healthcare-related institutes and senior welfare facilities due to high infection risks there The mask mandate would be extended next month for three types of venues, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday as it reported that the average daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases increased by more than 30 percent last week. Local COVID-19 cases last week rose to an average of 204 daily hospitalizations, an increase of 32.5 percent from the previous week, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said. The number of prescriptions for oral anti-viral drugs to treat COVID-19 also increased to 23,503 courses — 17,424 courses of Paxlovid and 6,079 courses of molnupiravir. The average positivity rate
GROWING FAST: China continues to outpace the US in its production and commissioning of ships, as it seeks to expand ‘far seas operations,’ an ex-US Navy captain said China continued to increase its naval capacity last year, indicating that it is seeking to bolster its ability to invade Taiwan, a retired US Navy captain said. In an article published in this month’s issue of the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, retired US Navy Captain James Fanell wrote that China commissioned 10 warships and one submarine last year, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was continuing to commission the most annual tonnage globally, as it has done for at least the past five years. The PLAN is also outproducing the US Navy in total number of ships, tonnage and