With no sight of ECFA benefits, enterprises in Taiwan continue to see challenges ahead

On Dec. 5, DPP Chair and Presidential Candidate Tsai Ing-Wen encountered a breakthrough when she stopped in Changhua to garner support from the local grassroots. The breakthrough came when Mr. Wei Ping-Chi, chairman of the hosiery industry union and former outspoken advocate of President Ma Ying-Jeou’s Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) policy, led many of his fellow union workers in an unexpected act of delivering Tsai Ing-Wen a few of her own piggy banks along with a message of hopeful expectation.

As CEO of well-known luxury hosiery brand Fu Chu Knitting Co. Ltd., Mr. Wei had previously allowed Ma to shoot a short film in his factory about the benefits of ECFA. Last April, he even personally stepped up to advocate for the economic agreement in an advertisement produced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. At the televised-premiere press conference of the commercial, Mr. Wei confessed that he was worried about the reaction because his union had yet to come to a unanimous decision about ECFA. However, his desire to pursue his instinct and conscience ultimately won out against his fear of repercussions, and he agreed to personally endorse the signing of agreement.

At the press event this December, Mr. Wei pointed out that Taiwan’s hosiery industry was facing challenges from both the Chinese and Korean markets, and that he saw no improvements on the issue after Taiwan signed the agreement with China.

Mr. Wei said that he had, on multiple occasions, attempted to convey his anxiety to the government but received nothing in response. He said he now believes that if Chair Tsai, an experienced negotiator of international affairs, were elected as president, she would easily eliminate the roadblocks encountered by the Taiwanese hosiery industry.

Chair Tsai stated that, under the framework of globalization, many small and medium-sized business are no longer able to hold their own. In the past, the government has been able to improve upon situations through forms of counseling, but this is no longer an option. When she becomes president, stated Chair Tsai, she promises to build a team of professional negotiators specialized to help businesses overcome hurdles on the stage of international trade talks.

In a statement released on Dec. 6, Mr. Wei stated that his viewpoints on all previous issues have not wavered, but in the face of business interests, party politics should be set aside.