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China Times: Chen Deming's visit should break new ground

China Times: Chen Deming's visit should break new ground

Chen Deming, president of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, will lead a delegation to Taiwan on Nov. 30 to meet with Taiwan government officials and private sector leaders. It will be the first high-level Chinese delegation to visit Taiwan since the meeting between Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and China President Xi Jinping in Singapore on Nov. 7.

After more than seven years of interaction, Taiwan and China are seeing a deeper integration of their societies and trade. Admittedly, the economic and industrial structures on both sides are changing and new challenges and problems are yet to be solved, but there are also new opportunities for cooperation.

The first urgent issue is how Taiwan and China can create mutual benefits and achieve a win-win situation with the rise of the "red supply chain," which consists of companies based in the mainland and which is gradually replacing Taiwan's supply chain and even threatening the country's vital semiconductor industry.

China has a less than 20 percent self-sufficiency rate for semiconductors, and its semiconductor imports exceed US$200 billion a year. To address the large trade deficit in the semiconductor sector, China has highlighted the development of the sector as part of its 12th five-year plan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's semiconductor exports exceed US$300 billion a year, with 40 percent going to China. Since the rise of China's semiconductor industry cannot be stopped, Taiwan should think about how it can benefit from it. And if China can take advantage of Taiwan's industrial technology and strength, it may accelerate its development and shorten its learning curve.

The second issue is the ongoing negotiations on a bilateral trade-in-goods agreement. Taiwan hopes to get preferential treatment for its exporters in four major sectors, including the flat panel industry. However, it wants to impose restrictions on Chinese agricultural product imports, a proposal that China finds unacceptable on grounds that it violates the principles of equality and reciprocity.

The disagreement can be resolved if both sides take a step back. Taiwan is hoping to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which means it inevitably will have to open up to agricultural imports. Taiwan should open up to Chinese agricultural products to a certain degree, but should be strict on inspections and labeling rules. China, meanwhile, should give Taiwan more time and space on the issue.

The trade-in-goods agreement is urgent and important to Taiwan's economy. For China, it is a chance to deepen cross-strait ties. The two sides should move past the trivialities and complete their talks on the agreement.

Finally, China should step up its protection of Taiwanese business people there. More Taiwanese service businesses are now in China, but they are usually small and unable to safeguard their rights. We hope that China can offer greater protection and assistance to these businesses.

The Ma-Xi meeting has pushed cross-Taiwan Strait relations to a new level, but it is uncertain whether the good relations can be maintained in the future. We hope that Chen Deming's visit can help resolve the economic and industrial problems currently facing Taiwan and China, and consolidate the existing cross-strait ties.

Updated : 2021-09-23 11:25 GMT+08:00