China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Wei Jianguo: Promoting Industrial Integration and Creating a Cross-strait Common Market
Date:Jan 11,2019    Source:CCIEE

At the beginning of 2019, the speech delivered by China’s President Xi Jinping at the 40th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan inspired the business community and the ordinary people in Taiwan greatly. National rejuvenation and reunification have become the desire of the people and trend of the times. The five major policy proposals put forward by President Xi show the mainland’s goodwill and care for Taiwan, and truly convinced Taiwanese enterprises that peaceful development is the foundation of the two sides of the strait, and peaceful reunification will benefit everyone.

Recently, many Taiwanese entrepreneurs have asked me how to interpret and implement “to actively promote the institutionalization of cross-strait economic cooperation and build a common market”, proposed by President Xi. To answer these questions, it is necessary to understand that industrial integration is the key to build a common market.

As one of the “Asian Four Tigers”, the economy of Taiwan made great progress because of its export-oriented policy and the shifting of the processing trade industries in the US and Europe. Taiwan seized the opportunity to integrate its industry with the international industry, coupled with its relatively low labor cost, the economy of Taiwan made remarkable progress in the following decade.

Nowadays, Taiwan’s four major industries have become “four major miserable” because they failed to conduct a practical investigation on the cross-strait industries and lost the opportunity to integrate themselves with mainland’s industry. To solve this problem, the two sides should realize industrial integration, connected development, and outcome sharing. Taiwan has great advantages in management, while the mainland’s strengths are concentrated on equipment and funding. Giving full play to their own advantages and making further integration with the mainland industry is the only way to help Taiwan enterprises to develop further in the future.

With this in mind, it will be easy for us to understand the importance of promoting the institutionalization of cross-strait economic cooperation. In the past, the Taiwanese enterprises relied heavily on the preferential policies of the mainland and their personal connection, but now they have to rely on a transparent, open and fair market.

At present, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) does not recognize the “1992 Consensus” and fears that the Taiwanese industry will be controlled by mainland China eventually, which is why the Taiwan authorities have imposed various restrictions on investments from mainland China. For example, the board of directors can only have one mainland director, and the mainland citizen can not serve as managing director or company president. These restrictions have caused great problems to the two-way investment between Taiwan and mainland China. Many Taiwanese entrepreneurs have told me that they are very optimistic about the development of mainland China and are not willing to implement the “New Southbound Policy.” Taiwan’s infrastructure is out of dated, civil servants’ wages have not increased in the past 20 years, and Taiwan needs development urgently.

In the future, the mainland China will give more preferential policies to the SMEs, young and middle-aged people, and local counties and civil societies of Taiwan, so that all the people in Taiwan will be able to share the development of mainland China and achieve a sense of gain as early as possible. To this end, we have to realize the four new links (water, electricity, gas and bridge) in Kinmen, Matsu and the cosstal cities in Fujian. This kind of institutionalized arrangement is a very special arrangement under the “one country, two systems” and “one family on both sides of the Taiwan straits”.

The common market refers to not only the huge potential market of mainland China, but also to the third-party market that can be jointly developed by the two sides. According to Taiwanese entrepreneurs, it means that the two sides of the strait join hands to make money from the world. Therefore, we welcome Taiwan to actively participate in the building of the “Belt and Road” and join the AIIB as soon as possible.

Youth is the hope of our nation and we hope that more young Taiwanese entrepreneurs can take over the torch from their fathers, join the cross-strait industrial integration team, achieve their dreams and realize the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation. We must not leave anyone in Taiwan behind.

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