Taipei counters Beijing’s bid to lure Taiwanese talent, capital to Chinese mainland

Self-ruled island has formulated eight strategies of its own following ‘politically motivated’ move by Beijing, island’s Vice-Premier Shih Jun-ji says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 9:57pm

Taipei on Friday unveiled a range of strategies aimed at countering measures recently announced by Beijing to attract Taiwanese companies and individuals to the mainland.

After chairing an interministerial meeting that discussed the package, Vice-Premier Shih Jun-ji told a press conference that Beijing’s 31 measures were politically motivated.

“China’s attempt to attract Taiwan’s capital and talent, especially hi-tech and young students, has clear political intentions,” he said.

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The Taiwanese government’s approach was “to face the problem in a serious and practical manner”, he said.

On February 28, the Taiwan Affairs Office, which manages Beijing’s policies towards the self-ruled island, announced 31 measures designed to “improve the rights of Taiwanese studying, working, living or starting a business” on the mainland.

However, Shih said the measures were devised to entice technology, capital and talent from Taiwan to help the mainland resolve its own problems caused by rapid economic development.

Shih categorised the 31 incentives into seven areas: investment, tax benefits, banks, education, culture, film industry and medical and public welfare. Of the total, just seven were new, he said.

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To counter them, the Taiwanese government has formulated eight strategies seeking to reach four goals: to keep talent in Taiwan, to maintain Taiwan’s advantage in the global supply chain, to deepen its capital market and to strengthen its cultural and film industries.

The Mainland Affairs Council, Taipei’s government agency responsible for cross-strait policy, will establish a task force to conduct a long-term study and analysis on the implementation of the measures and make public its study results on a regular basis.

Since Beijing announced the measures, the council has been urging Beijing to sit down and talk about details of implementing them, but its calls have fallen on deaf ears.

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Cross-strait relations have stalled since President Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, took office in May 2016, as Beijing unilaterally suspended official contact between the two sides.

Taiwan has been governed separately from the mainland since they split at the end of the civil war in 1949. Since then, Beijing has considered Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.