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Friday, February 26, 2010

Some notes about the proposed ECFA

Read today's Taipei Times News on Trade deal renegotiation unlikely: MAC and notice the 3 paragraphs near the end:

Recently, a Chinese firm selling liquid-crystal-display (LCD) television sets, Qimei, was found to bear a similar name to Taiwanese LCD panel maker, Chi Mei.

Liu said the Taiwanese firm must first find out whether its Chinese counterpart was officially registered in China before it takes the matter to a Chinese court.

Liu said he was uncertain whether it was the first violation of brand name in the electronics products industry, but similar occurrences were rampant in the agricultural sector.

We are not opposing the signing of ECFA simply because we want to be against whatever policies or agreements that the Ma government wishes to push through without any clear content. We are more concerned about the future livelihood of the people in Taiwan and especially when facing a hostile neighbor.

For example, the KMT government should have some thoughts about accompanying protection measures for traditional industries such as the farming industry, the objectives of such protection is to avoid the takeover of lower-quality mass agricultural production by China's cheaper labor force, which perhaps has already taken place in China's Hainan island (growing Taiwan's fruits and vegetables with seeds from years of painstaking Taiwanese R&D).

The European Union model should be studied by Taiwan, and perhaps also by 16 ASEAN countries, and Asian members of the APEC.

The European Union promotes and preserves products quality and uniqueness through a system of certification process in 3 different levels (a must read refer to the wikipedia link Protected designation of origin): protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) ,traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) .

The purpose of this European law is to protect the reputation of the regional foods and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which may be of inferior quality or of different taste because of natural climate factor or processing method variations.

These days, all kinds of varieties of mushrooms (including the traditional Japanese Shiitake mushroom) could be found on sale in the French Carrefour supermarket chains, all are produced in China. The Japanese Shiitake mushroom could only be grown in traditional Japanese locations using ancient methods before 1982. Not knowing under what environment this mushroom is grown in China whose industry has polluted most part of the country and my instinct of avoiding Chinese products has led me to choose only the domestic or other European-grown mushrooms and skip the Chinese "Shiitake" mushroom. For consumers protection, the Chinese grown "Shiitake" mushroom could have used a different name, such as the name of the region where the mushroom is cultivated.

I wouldn't want to see all kinds of Taiwanese regional products grown in China after ECFA is inked with different tastes but bearing the same names as the original Taiwanese names, for example, Wen-shan Bao-Zhong tea.

It makes sense for the EU member states to conduct business more fairly this way among member states even though they do not face each other with hostilities and missiles. Confronting China's territorial claim, missile threat, diplomatic isolation, and blocking entrance to and / or arbitrary name change to our international organization membership, Taiwan simply cannot sign the ECFA with no protection measures for our traditional industry and with no specific guarantee from China that it will not interfere with Taiwan's trade negotiations with other countries including signing FTAs with individual ASEAN members.

Businessmen from any western nations should diversify manufacturing to many other developing nations in the world and could also help promote world peace and security since other developing nations, unlike China, do not burden the world with military expansion, cyber crimes, and infringement on intellectual properties.

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