Labor activists warn of fallout from service pact
The China Post news staffLabor activists yesterday claimed that the cross-strait service trade pact will destroy local industries and create massive unemployment if it is implemented.
September 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
But the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) maintained that the agreement — which is pending approval by the Legislature — would not allow any Chinese “laborer” to work in Taiwan, and therefore will not have any impact on local employment.
The two sides expressed their views at a forum organized by National Taiwan University to explore the implications of the service trade pact.
Sun You-lien, secretary-general of the Taiwan Labor Front, said that laborers around the world are generally against trade liberalization.
He pointed out that Taiwan businesses' exodus to China in recent years has uprooted Taiwan's industries and created structural unemployment.
He said the service trade pact was not signed on a level playing field.
According to Sun, China has a much stronger economy than Taiwan's: China's GDP reached more than US$8.22 trillion in 2012, which was 17.3 times that of Taiwan.
Both sides are not opening their doors equally, Sun said. Taiwan is allowing Chinese investors to set up businesses in Taiwan, either investing privately or in the form of joint ventures or some kind of partnerships with locals. They may also set up branch offices in Taiwan.
But Taiwan investors will be allowed to invest in China in the form of joint ventures, Sun said.
While Taiwan is fully opening itself to Chinese investors geographically, China is only opening its Fujian and Guangdong provinces, or some specific demonstration zones, he said.
He said once the pact is implemented, many of Taiwan's small- to medium-sized businesses will fold or be forced to merge with other firms. More of Taiwan's management personnel and capital will leave, he added.
Yang-Teng Chin-hua, who operates a hair salon chain, said Taiwan's hairdressing sector has a work force of 1.05 million people, and does not need extra labor from China. Neither does it need capital, because running a hair salon does not need much investment, she said.
Allowing Chinese investors to invest in the hair-styling industry, which is among the many industries that will be opened up to Chinese investment, will not create any employment, she added.
MOEA representatives at the forum addressed her concerns by saying that no Chinese laborers will be allowed to work in Taiwan after the agreement takes effect. Neither will Chinese hairdressers be allowed to work in Taiwan, they said.