Open service industry will create more jobs: Ma
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that opening up Taiwan's service industry will help create more jobs for locals.
September 3, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Ma made the above comment during a meeting with members of a Taipei-based Yunlin County Association at the Presidential Office.
Everyone has their concerns about the cross-strait service trade pact, and the fact is, no matter which party is in power, Yunlin has to develop agricultural trade with mainland China, the president said.
“I see that Magistrate Su (of Yunlin) has traveled to mainland China several times,” Ma, underscoring the importance of developing cross-strait trade.
Trade in services and trade in goods are different, the president explained, adding that the pact does not allow mainland Chinese laborers to enter Taiwan.
Firms across the strait are only allowed to bring over their executives, Ma said, adding that the requirements for mainland Chinese investment in Taiwan are very strict.
The impact on the domestic market will be limited, because Taiwan's service industry is very robust, the president said.
So far, 398 mainland Chinese enterprises have been allowed to invest in Taiwan, Ma said, adding that although the firms brought over 216 mainland Chinese executives, 6771 jobs for locals were created — a ratio of 1:31.
“Opening up the service industry will actually create more jobs for us,” Ma stressed.
The items that mainland China is willing to open up to Taiwan are more expansive than those stipulated by the World Trade Organization, whereas Taiwan will be less lenient toward the other side of strait, which means that comparatively speaking, the pact is more beneficial to Taiwan, the president explained.
Mainland China is the second largest economy in the world, and during the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) administration, the region became Taiwan's largest trade partner in 2003, Ma said.
Under these circumstances, the administration should use the opportunity to aid Taiwan's development and allow competitive local firms to expand in mainland China, the president added.
There are strict regulations and control measures in place to preempt national security concerns, Ma stressed.
Citing McDonalds as an example, the president said that the fast-food chain has opened up 390 branches in Taiwan over the past three decades and currently employs more than 20,000 people.
Initially, people were concerned that McDonalds' arrival in Taiwan would adversely affect the local food and beverage industry, Ma explained.
Local firms, however, began to adjust to the U.S. fast-food chain's presence, learning from its management system, the president said, adding that because of competition, Taiwanese companies have grown stronger.
McDonalds has provided roughly 200,000 job opportunities during its time in Taiwan, Ma said, adding that the fast-food chain's arrival in Taiwan has actually proven to be beneficial to the island.
The president said that he will engage in a televised debate with DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Sept. 15 over the cross-strait service trade pact, with an aim to let the public know more about the administration's policies.
The Legislature will hold an article-by-article review and vote on the pact, ensuring that Taiwan's interests are not harmed, Ma said.