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Business group urges government to respect market mechanism

2018/07/27 19:18:31

Wang Wen-yuan (王文淵)

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) The Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI), which represents the majority of manufacturers in Taiwan, urged the government Friday to respect the market mechanism and management autonomy of companies as it tries to promote wage growth.

Raising the minimum wage will only have a negative effect on the job market and leave many young people out of work, said CNFI President Wang Wen-yuan (王文淵).

Wang, who is also head of the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG), made the remarks while presiding over the presentation of the annual CNFI white paper, which consists of a number of proposals for the government, with topics ranging from industrial and green energy development to cross-Taiwan Strait policy and labor resources.

The market mechanism should regulate the wage structure, he said, reiterating his stance against the government's proposed strategy of hiking the country's minimum wage.

In May, the Cabinet put forward a series of proposals to increase the wages of low-paid workers, including hiking the minimum pay for government employees to NT$30,000 (about US$1,000) per month, encouraging or pressing private firms to follow suit, and raising the statutory hourly wage rate from NT$140 to NT$150.

Ho Yu (何語), a CNFI director, described the proposed wage hike as simply a political decision that fails to take the business group's opinions into account.

Past experience shows that the government has never tried to consult or exchange ideas with local business groups on matters pertaining to the minimum wage, Ho said, citing the example of last year, when the government decided to raise the minimum wage from NT$17,780 to NT$22,000.

Regarding the government's aggressive push to promote its New Southbound Policy, Wang said that besides the low cost of labor being advantageous for Taiwanese investment in Southeast Asian countries, there are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed, including tax agreements and investment guarantees.

So far, the government has not given any specific details or follow-up on these issues, despite continuing to encourage local businesses to invest there, he said.

The CNFI, which represents 159 business associations in Taiwan, made 231 proposals in its 164-page white paper for development in areas such as manufacturing, energy resources, environmental protection, taxation, labor-management relations, international trade, intellectual property rights, cross-strait policy and labor resources.

(By Kuo Hsin-yi and Ko Lin)