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Will ECFA dampen or stimulate Taiwan's industries?

2010-03-17 11:06 BJT

If the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between Taiwan and the mainland is signed, the island's labor intensive industries like textiles are set to be most affected.

As the ECFA progresses, entrepreneurs in Taiwan's Yunlin County have raised some concerns. They worry that if the ECFA is signed, it will have a negative impact on Taiwan's labor intensive industries since their costs are too high and would not be able to compete with the mainland's counterparts.

Taiwan's towel industry was hit in 2001 when the island entered the WTO. Yunlin County used to have more than 200 towel manufacturers. However the entering of the WTO brought on cheaper towels from Southeast Asia. Ten years later, only 50 manufacturers are left in the county.

Taiwan authorities have imposed high anti-dumping tariffs on imported towels in recent years, giving a break to local manufacturers.

Huang Guangyi, who has devoted half of his life to the textile industry, says the current situation is not comparable to the prosperity before.
Huang Guangyi, who has devoted half of his life to the textile 
industry, says the current situation is not comparable to the 
prosperity before.

Huang Guangyi, who has devoted half of his life to the textile industry, says the current situation is not comparable to the prosperity before.

Huang Guangyi, Director, Taiwan Bedclothes Union, said, "In the 1970s when I entered the industry, it was very successful throughout Taipei. Everyday there was hope for me because I made profits everyday. I was happy all the time. But now some manufacturers have only ten employees, only ten! It makes us feel increasingly hopeless."

Huang has joined forces with the island's traditional industries to open high-quality goods shops in Taiwan as well as outside the island.

Huang said, "Made in Taiwan products are well recognized by many people, but some do not know where to buy them. So I want to open more high-quality goods stores, to allow people around the world to purchase our products."

Industry insiders from Taiwan's textile and chinaware industries point out that the ECFA is not a disaster for the island, by contrary, from an overall point of view, Taiwan's textile exports to the mainland will surge by more than a quarter after the signing of the ECFA. This is the equivalent of 530 million US dollars.

Taiwan officials also hope local manufacturers can bring their advantages into full play after the deal is signed, adding that the two sides could complement each other, and enhance cooperation in international marketing.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: