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June 24, 2017

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ROCCOC expresses support for trade pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China (ROCCOC, 中華民國全國商業總會) called yesterday for protesting students to leave the Legislative Yuan so that the Legislature may resume operations, saying that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement should be reviewed in detail and clear the House within a month.

The ROCCOC invited representatives from 50 service industries to the press conference to discuss potential impacts of the cross-strait pact on local service industries.

There are 122 associations within the ROCCOC, comprising more than 100,000 businesses. About 85 percent of the ROCCOC's members are in the service industry, and are likely to be affected by the cross-strait pact.

Service industries in Taiwan include hairdressing, laundry service, printing and publishing, hotel and travel services, food service, retail and wholesale, car rental, medical service, technical services, TV and movies, advertising services, information technology, exhibition services and financial services, among others. Representatives of these industries were all present at yesterday's meeting to provide their viewpoints on the cross-strait pact, as well as to offer suggestions on how the government may assist the industry.

Taiwan Should Open Up: ROCCOC Chairman

It was almost impossible to find new hires with a monthly pay of NT$28,000 two decades ago, said ROCCOC Chairman Lai Chang-yi (賴正鎰). Today NT$22,000 is the likely monthly starting pay for college graduates.

Political bickering and locking out the outside world over the past 20 years has resulted in a significant loss of business opportunities, Lai said, adding that Taiwan should not be afraid of competing with global businesses. By establishing bases in mainland China, Taiwan's businesses will have the opportunity to go global, Lai said.

After businesses across the strait started to trade with each other, Taiwanese businesses have invested US$300 billion in mainland China, while Chinese businesses only invested US$800 million in Taiwan, Lai said, adding that there is no need to worry that mainland Chinese will take away local jobs.

Life Insurance Association, R.O.C. (LIA, 人壽保險公會) Chairman Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) said yesterday that unless Taiwan opens up its market to global opportunity, the world market will never open its doors for Taiwan. In response to global competition, the only route for Taiwan is to "go out," Hsu said.

More Job Opportunities in China: ROCCOC

Department store association chairman Wang Ren-shen (王任生) said the cross-strait pact will work in Taiwan's favor, as it will provide young people with more opportunities to work in mainland China.

The Beauty Business Trade Association, which encompasses more than 200,000 hairdressing businesses and employs about 800,000 people, never voiced opposition to the cross-strait pact. The association said there are only 23 million "heads" in Taiwan that need hairdressing, but there are 1.5 billion in mainland China.

The market in Taiwan is already saturated. To make matters worse, birth rates are now declining. Taiwan's hairdressers have better skills than those in mainland China. Therefore, there are more opportunities available, the association said.

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