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Government dismisses trade agreement rumors

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government has dismissed rumors spread over the Internet about the extent of the local market to be opened under the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.

The government has maintained that Chinese laborers will not be allowed to enter the nation, and there are no provisions for an immigrant investor program for citizens from across the strait.

Rumors have spread over the Internet claiming that under the trade agreement an investment of 48,000 yuan (about NT$230,000) will allow any Chinese investor to settle in Taiwan, and that their children will be entitled to full rights to the 12-year free education system.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) stressed that the investment immigration quotas are only open to people from countries other than China.

While the trade agreement allows managers or technicians from China to work in China-invested businesses in Taiwan, these personnel will be given a one-year work visa, the MOEA said. They will not be given the alien residency card either, it added.

The MOEA also trashed rumors that claimed the trade agreement would open the doors to a million Chinese laborers.

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) also dispelled speculation that the agreement would result in an influx of Chinese investment in the local property market.

The MOI noted that while Chinese people will be allowed to buy property in Taiwan, there are many restrictions.

Their purchases will have to be approved by the MOI, Mainland Affairs Council, Ministry of National Defense and National Security Bureau, the MOI said.

The Chinese owners will not be allowed to resell the property within three years of purchasing, a measure to prevent speculative trading, the MOI said.

The property must not be bought for pure investment purposes, as the owners must prove that the items will be used for housing their offices or residences, the MOI added.

Such rumors have threatened to further undermine the nation's support for the trade agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the Legislature.

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