Cross-Straits service pact 'benefits both'

Updated: 2014-03-27 08:49

By An Baijie (China Daily USA)

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The mainland's spokesman on Taiwan affairs called on Taiwan people on Wednesday not to undermine a proposed new cross-Straits pact, saying the agreement would be "mutually beneficial".

The Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement is an economic pact that aims to benefit people on both sides, a fact that should be understood by Taiwan's people, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

The mainland and Taiwan have had economic exchanges for more than 20 years, and the enhanced economic cooperation has benefited Taiwan's people, he said.

Ma made the remarks at a regular biweekly news conference on Wednesday morning, several days after more than 2,000 Taiwan residents gathered on Sunday evening to protest the pact.

Some protesters broke into the building of Taiwan's executive chamber, smashing windows and clashing with police.

At least 110 protesters and 55 policemen were injured.

Some Taiwan residents worry that the pact would allow mainland people to work in Taiwan and take local people's jobs, but such worries are unfounded, Ma said.

Taiwan has never allowed mainland workers to hunt for jobs on the island, and the service trade pact does not lift that restriction, he added.

Ma also said that the pact will not lead to the immigration of mainland investors to Taiwan.

"I heard rumors that by investing 48,000 yuan ($7,730), mainland people could move to Taiwan, and I wonder how that could be possible," he said.

Only by marrying Taiwan residents and then waiting for years can mainland people be allowed to live on the island, he added.

Ma called on Taiwan's people to read the pact and know its contents before hitting the streets to protest.

According to the pact, the mainland will open 80 service sectors to Taiwan, while Taiwan will open 64 sectors to the mainland.

For example, the pact allows Taiwan businesses operating on the mainland to hire professionals in the construction sector from Taiwan, with no time limit on their stay. Taiwan construction companies are also permitted to bid for construction projects on the mainland.

Both the mainland and Taiwan should cherish the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, Ma said.

Li Baoming, a professor with the Institute of Taiwan Studies with Tsinghua University, said that it was Taiwan's political confrontations, rather than the pact itself, that triggered the protest.

The Cross-Straits Trade Service Agreement was signed in June by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation. The two organizations are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Straits negotiations and the signing of agreements.

(China Daily USA 03/27/2014 page1)