轉載自【Taipei Times Wed, Mar 28, 2012 - Page 12 by Amy Su / Staff reporter】
Beijing needs to offer more preferential policies to entice Taiwanese firms to invest in its Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, economists and researchers said yesterday during a conference organized by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER, 中華經濟研究院).
However, they added that Taipei should be concerned whether the development potential of China's larger West-Taiwan Strait Economic Zone (海西經濟特區), which spans several Chinese provinces and includes areas of China's Fujian Province, where Pingtan is located, will eventually undermine and threaten Taiwan's competitiveness.
"For local companies, Pingtan is close to Taiwan, but with a less convenient transportation system," National Chengchi University economics professor Steve Lin (林祖嘉) said. "In terms of infrastructure, the business conditions in Pingtan aren't necessarily better than those in other regions."
Therefore, if Beijing wants to attract more investors from Taiwan, it needs to substantially relax its policies or there will be no reason for Taiwanese companies to set up shop in Pingtan, he added.
Lin said he has not seen any substantive ideas from China yet, other than a promise to offer higher salaries for Taiwanese employees.
Sophia Shih (史惠慈), a research fellow at the CIER, shared Lin's views.
"Under the structure of the ECFA [Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement], Pingtan has become a possible investment location among a number of special zones in China," Shih told reporters.
It will be important for Beijing to construct an "ECFA-plus system" to be applied in Pingtan, which would attract Taiwanese companies by providing better investment conditions, Shih said.
However, Hugh Lin (林正修), former director of Taipei City's Civil Affairs Bureau during then-Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) administration, who has been researching the Pingtan issue for years, said the government should be more concerned with the overall rise of the West-Strait Special Economic Zone, which dwarfs Pingtan.
"We should face the fact that development of the West-Strait Special Economic Zone could -outpace all of Taiwan in the future," Hugh Lin said.
Another academic said Taiwan should think clearly about its long-term development goals and ways of cooperating with China so that Taipei is not powerless whenever a cross-strait economic issue such as the Pingtan project is on the table.
"I think that our government lacks a vision for the nation's direction for the next 10 to 15 years, while China has been very consistent in its development strategy," said Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐), director of the CIER's Mainland China Division.
"Whenever China pitches a project, we have to hold a seminar to figure out how to react," Chang said. "I think it says a lot about how confused we are."
A more transparent communication channel should be established between the government and opposition parties so that a consensus can be forged on how to match China's development efforts with Taiwan own economic goals, he said.