Taipei, Sept. 13 (CNA) Local labor representatives on Friday cast doubt on the recently signed service trade pact between Taiwan and China
, saying they were worried that the opening of markets would lead to local unemployment and a brain drain. Son Yu-liam, secretary-general of the Taiwan Labour Front, said the agreement that opened up sectors such as health, travel, culture and entertainment across the Taiwan Strait could hurt small and medium-sized enterprises because they might have a hard time competing against Chinese investors. The fact that China
's economic strength outweighs that in Taiwan is worrisome, Son said, adding that Taiwan has surrendered too much to China
in the pact, allowing excessive scale and access for Chinese investment. Local businesses could face acquisition and bankruptcy because of the deal, he said.
His views were echoed by representatives from the hairstyling and beauty treatment, as well as furniture, industry. In response, the Ministry of Economic Affairs allayed concerns that the pact will allow Chinese workers to come to Taiwan, stressing that the pact will not open up Taiwan's labor market to China. There will be no Chinese hairstylists coming to Taiwan vying for jobs with locals, it added. Taiwan and China signed the pact on June 21 in Shanghai, which would see China open 80 service categories to Taiwanese investors, while Taiwan would open 64 categories to Chinese investors. (By Kao Chao-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)