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May 27, 2017

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SEF head urges more cooperation in the cross-strait services sector

NANTONG, Jiangsu -- Lin Join-sane (林中森), Taiwan's new top negotiator on China affairs, said yesterday at a Taiwanese business forum in Nantong, Jiangsu Province that the current state of cross-strait relations was at the best it has been in six decades but the two sides should strengthen cooperation in the services sector.

Lin, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海基會), said that the governments in Taiwan and China need to provide support for services industries on both two sides, including financial support and human resources, to help them cope with a shortage of workers while undergoing industrial transformation.

Lin was addressing attendees at a summit on Taiwanese companies' industrial transformation and upgrading in Nantong city.

At the summit, Lin's Chinese counterpart Chen Deming (陳德銘), the head of China's Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (海協會), said that Taiwan's university students should support the cross-strait trade-in-services agreement as it will provide many jobs.

For instance, Chen said, China offers a massive market for medical and health services and senior nursing services and Taiwan can use its advantages of having a common culture and language with China to venture into the Chinese market.

Once Taiwan opens its service sector, it could gather enormous momentum for its economic growth, Chen said.

His comments come on the heels of a student-led movement held in Taiwan from mid-March to early April which blocked a trade pact Taiwan signed with China from being approved by the Legislature.

Chen said that Taiwan's trade in services ranked 26th in the world, even lagging behind Macau's 24th. This shows that if it opens up its services sector, enormous business opportunities could be created.

Chen, who resigned from the post as the Minister of Commerce in 2013, said that while world trade in goods fell last year, trade in services grew 5 percent.

He said the two sides should keep abreast of the new wave of industiral revolution characterized by artificial intelligence, to develop their services industry.

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