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June 24, 2017

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Business, industry associations call for an end to protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In response to the student uprising and consequent social upheaval, 52 business and industry associations staged a press conference urging for a swift and peaceful conclusion to ongoing disputes, while outlining six points of advice to the government.

Representatives at the event included the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 工業總會), the General Chamber of Commerce (ROCCOC, 商業總會) and the National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME, 中小企業總會).

Appeals and advice voiced by the representatives include the cessation of protests to enable the restoration of the functions of a democratic government, a request for Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to begin overseeing negotiations over the approval proceedings of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and commence article-by-article assessment via lawmaker voting, a call to stage a National Affairs Conference (國是會議) to allay concerns over heated social and political issues including contentions over the building of Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and cross-strait trade pacts, the establishment of platforms for dialogue and supervision between the people and the government, an appeal against protesters' call for widespread labor strikes and a request for President Ma Ying-jeou's audience in a meeting with industry and business associations to receive their advice.

"Endurance, objective dialogue and unity is the only path toward Taiwan's economic prosperity, said CNFI Chairman Hsu Sheng-hsiung (許勝雄). During his address Hsu was visibly shaken while recounting reports of a student who cried that his own father is a police officer as he was removed from the scene of the protest before the Legislative Yuan. "Such an opposing rift between the people is truly tragic," said Hsu.

Most notably, Hsu suggested that as the outbreak of protests and social discord is likely to have originated over the hastily rushed approval process of the cross-strait services pact, perhaps a return to square one would help tremendously in abating current strife. In addition, representatives stated that the private sector is growing exceedingly concerned over the possibility that their hopes for economic prosperity may be dashed as the government stands mired in a standstill. Hsu also urged against a widespread labor strike, as such actions would bring incalculable loss across Taiwan's business and industrial sectors in lost revenues and productivity, while contributing little to resolving the issues at hand.

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