BY JUDITH NORTON AND EDWARD J. BARSS | TRANSLATION (UPDATE: MAY 24, 2018)
The EAPASI provides a translation of the official Chinese document titled "Some Measures for Promoting Cross-Strait Economic and Cultural Exchange Cooperation". The PRC passed the measures in order to attract Taiwanese businesses, professionals, and students to invest in, to relocate to, and to study on the mainland. The incentives bypass the Tsai administration, which, in response to the 31 Measures, implemented a counter-measure called the "Four Directions and Eight Strategies". It appears however that the PRC originally introduced the 31 Preferential Policies during the Fifth Straits Forum in southeast China's Xiamen in 2013 and, now, in 2018, aims to actively implement them.
Recently, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) implemented a major plan to open highly restricted industries to investment from Taiwanese enterprises and to encourage cultural exchanges in order to promote economic and social integration across the strait which could further advance the process of peaceful reunification. A total of 31 government agencies cooperated to create a plan consisting of 31 Measures or 31 Incentives that relax and even remove a wide-range of restrictions previously imposed on Taiwanese enterprises to increase investment from Taiwan, especially in restricted industries such as energy, entertainment, finance, as well as infrastructure. The PRC’s 31 Incentives aim to give Taiwanese enterprises invested in or intending to invest in the mainland equal treatment as counterparts on the mainland, including providing them with the same investment policies, tax benefits, as well as equal participation in government procurement; at the same time, the Measures provide Taiwanese society with equal educational, professional, and employment opportunities.
Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took power in 2016, the cross-strait relationship has gradually deteriorated. This trend is partly due to Taiwan’s Tsai administration active promotion of a “Dynamic” status quo policy, which aims to reduce Taiwanese economic interdependence on the mainland, as well as strengthen Taiwan’s long-standing separate political status from the mainland. It is also partly due to the PRC's insistence that the Tsai administration publicly say the phrase "1992 Consensus" (See here and here) which represents the "One China Principle". The PRC introduced the 31 Incentives to circumvent the Tsai administration and target Taiwanese enterprises and society in order to help develop and advance ties between the two sides of the strait.
Some of the measures to lure Taiwanese companies:
In response, the Tsai administration implemented a counter-measure called the "Four Directions and Eight Strategies". According to Taiwan's Vice Premier Shih Chun-chi, the Four Directions involve "improving the study and work environment favoring talent, maintain Taiwan’s advantages in the global supply chain, deepen the capital market and strengthen the cultural and audiovisual sector". The Eight Strategies consist of providing "better financial and other support for academics and researchers, funding of innovators, helping businesses to reward talented employees, and improve the working conditions and pay for medical staff". In addition, Shih Chun-chi also stated that the Tsai administration would "step up protection of confidential data, provide more help to enterprises to upgrade their equipment and software, and revitalize the stock market by shortening the review period for a new listing, and help Taiwanese firms to return from overseas and list on the Taiex". Furthermore, given that the PRC offered unparalleled access to its rapidly growing entertainment industry as well as active participation in major cultural events, the Taiwan Cabinet "promised more investment for the cultural and audiovisual sector, including NT$6 billion (US$206 million) from the National Development Fund to be devoted to cultural content".
A full translation of the 31 Measures follows.