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Clarification and Explanation on Criticism Raised by Legislator Huang Wen-ling at a Press Conference Today (September 27)

  • Date:2013-09-27

September 27, 2013
No. 073

Legislator Huang Wen-ling held a press conference today (September 27) to condemn the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) for "throwing away over NT$10 million on advertising to mislead the public about the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement." As the accusations are clearly incompatible with the facts, the MAC issued the following clarification and explanation:

1. The MAC is the agency in charge of overall planning and coordination for the government's Mainland policy. As such, it has the duty and responsibility to proactively inform the public about related policies through various channels and means. The Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement has received a high level of public attention. To increase community understanding and support for the Agreement, the MAC has used various mass communication channels to broaden the level and scope of communication, as well as planned and arranged publicity activities with regional and focus strategies. By means of this direct two-way communication and interaction, the MAC aims to reduce doubts and misunderstandings among sectors of the public.

2. MAC promotions on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement have consisted mainly of radio ads, print ads, internet promotions, publicity activities and informational brochures. All such promotions adhere to the principle of economizing on funds and have achieved promotional benefits.

(1) Legislator Huang claimed that the beauty and hairdressing industry mentioned in the MAC's "Ten Strengthens" print ad would only be impacted by the Agreement and could not possibly be strengthened. The MAC stresses, first, the "Ten Strengthens" mentioned in the MAC print ad cite statements by the industry and are entirely based on facts. Furthermore, with respects to the beauty and hairdressing industry, the MAC and competent authority, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, have repeatedly stated that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement does not involve admitting Mainland workers to Taiwan. The MAC further emphasizes, Taiwan's service industry provides higher quality, localized and customized services with a human touch, making it difficult for Mainland companies to compete with Taiwanese counterparts; assessments by the competent authority show that there would be only limited impact on Taiwanese businesses. Furthermore, following the signing of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, Taiwan would enjoy not only the pre-existing market opening measures, but also new safeguards in areas such as disclosure and provision of information (Article 5) and liaison mechanisms (Article 18), which would help businesses to further develop in the Mainland.

(2) Regarding the publicity effect of the MAC's temple promotion activities, the MAC has carried out five of the six activities planned for this year (2013). The average expenditure for each event amounts to around NT$250,000 and not the NT$381,500 as claimed by Legislator Huang, and has attracted about 800 participants each. At the events, keynote speakers, including President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Jiang Yi-huah, Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo and MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi, have explained the benefits of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and made clarifications on issues of public concern. The events have attracted enthusiastic exchanges, where many of the participants from various places affirmed the efforts and intentions of the government officials in communicating with the public in rural areas. Every event held has been reported by the news media, benefits of policy communication are not limited only to on-site participants.

(3) Regarding the MAC's official Facebook platform, the site has attracted over 220,000 fans over the past two years and has become an important platform for the MAC in disseminating policy information. The MAC published 51 Facebook posts on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement between May 27 and August 15, which received 2,122,725 hits, or 41,622 hits per post on average; attracted 1,074 comments, or 21 responses per post; and received a total of 42,044 "likes," or 824 "likes" per post. The posts have proven to effectively deliver policy information and content on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement; the number of "likes" not being the only standard for assessing promotion benefits.

(4) As for Legislator Huang's claim that participation in the 16 seminars held by the MAC was limited to certain industry sectors, the MAC, due to limited annual funding, commissioned five associations closely connected to the service industry—the General Chamber of Commerce of the ROC, Travel Agent Association of R.O.C. (Taiwan), Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, Taiwan Financial Services Roundtable and Taiwan International Logistics and Supply Chain Association—to hold 16 seminars for professional service industry organizations in northern, central and southern Taiwan. The scope of the invitations included member companies from the general commercial, tourism and travel, finance, transport, distribution, logistics and wholesale and retail service sectors, and other sectors as well.

3. The government's Mainland policy and development of cross-strait relations has attracted much public attention. The MAC will continue in the future to communicate with the public through various channels and means to forge policy consensus and facilitate overall promotion of Mainland affairs.