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Scholars predict 290,000 farming jobs loses due to ECFA
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2010-02-01 11:23 AM
An estimated of 290,000 workers in farming industry will lose their jobs once Taiwan government allow the import of current restricted Chinese agricultural products, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Monday.

The estimated layoff number is based on Taiwan scholars’ studies result, covering fields of paddy, food grains, specific crops, vegetables and fruit tress only.

“After ECFA is signed, not only laborers, farming workers would suffer greater strike,” indicated Wu Ming-min, professor emeritus of National Chung Hsing University.

During the initial cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) talk last Tuesday, China representatives demanded to release import limit on its agriculture products.

Wu continued that “if it’s necessary to sign such trade pact with China, the government should propose policies aiding agriculture industry. He said he’s worried that Taiwan agriculture would fail to adapt to the great changes since the government has be avoiding the above questions.

China representatives demanded the amendment of ‘cross-strait trading normalization chapter’ to solve current import issues. Though this part failed to reach an agreement, it remained a great concern, said the report.

In case Taiwan government allows the import of current forbidden Chinese agriculture products, more than 227,000 people in paddy section, 17,000 people in food grains section, 7,300 people in specific crops section, 4,600 people in vegetable section and 32,000 people in fruit trees section respectively would under direct impact, predicated Wu.

An overall of more than 289,000 workers in farming industry would lose jobs. Agriculture unemployment rate would soar up to 11.2%, which doesn’t cover the possible layoff number in animal husbandry and fishery.

“The government shall include the article into ECFA stating that Taiwan never allows the import of 830 specific Chinese agricultural products, if this can’t be done, then the government shall refuse to sign the pact,” said Wu Rong-jie, profession at Department of Agricultural and Economics, National Taiwan University (NTU).

A conference held yesterday by Taiwan Advocates warned possible marginalization of Taiwan if the government only signs ECFA with China and doesn’t conclude the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with other nations.

“Taiwan would face marginalization once it signs ECFA is signed and without entering into FTA with The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” indicated Lin Shang-kai, professor at the Department of Economics, NTU.

He continued to explain that Taiwan manufactures would relocate their capitals and techniques to China in seeking low costs because selling products to China is tariff-free.

Former Vice President Lu Hsiu-lien said during a speech delivered in Changhua Girls’ Senior High School that ECFA is one of China’s steps to unify Taiwan.

She pointed out that ECFA would enable Taiwan and China to enjoy tariff-free exports to each side. This measure however only benefits few while most industries would die out owing to the import of low-priced Chinese products.

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