Wednesday, March 19, 2008

China's stealing Taiwan's fruits of labor...literally

Today we visited National Chung Hsing University where we talked with a panel of professors. NCHU is one of Taiwan's top universities that focuses on agriculture and biotechnology among other disciplines. We learned from deputy head of agriculture and fishery Mr. Wu that when Taiwan began to collaborate with China in sharing agricultural technology, China ended up taking the information to make their own produce and now competes in Taiwan and in the world market. You can find Taiwan's seeds for plants and fruits in factories all across the major Chinese cities. They even put Taiwanese brand logos on their packaging as well as pretend to be Taiwanese grown fruit. Some of this fruit is even making its way back to Taiwan. China's cheap prices are competing internationally with Taiwan's goods. For example, organic corn from China will sell for $9 in Hong Kong whereas Taiwan's corn sells for $45, even though both corn was originally cultivated by Taiwanese people. The idea of a common market proposed by Ma Ying-jeou will be troubling to Taiwan's farming and fishery that is already suffering from major competition from the Chinese. Opening the doors to further Chinese influence and competition is something that Taiwan cannot afford to do.

8 comments:

aapt said...

Wow, that's incredibly unethical of China. I can't believe Mr. Ma is proposing the common market. But what else is new? Los Angeles authorities just seized a container from China that was full of designer knockoff bags, there were a number of Coach bags found. The stealing of intellectual property is driving China's economy, and we don't need any more of that.

Godwin said...

I've always thought that the sustainability of Taiwan's economy would have to be through investment in human capital, which is more difficult to duplicate. That translates into maintaining an edge on innovation. It's not a very comfortable prospect given that Taiwan will always have to be defending its position, but given our lack of physical resources, that's what we must do.

A C said...

Has Taiwan taken this dispute to the WTO? China is a member of the TRIPS, Agreement, so in principle at least, Taiwan has legal recourse backed by the strength of the entire international trade system. Of course, Taiwan will have to get in line behind a lot of other state and private parties that are having problems with China's approach to intellectual property....

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