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Export of Fishery Labor to Taiwan Resumed
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The Chinese mainland has formally resumed the export of fishery labor services to Taiwan after a four-year suspension, a Ministry of Commerce official announced yesterday.


The first batch of mainland fishermen will set out today for Taiwan from Pingtan Island in East China's Fujian Province.


The move is a result of meetings between the two sides to agree on requirements and details of their fishery labor cooperation agreement, such as salaries, said Wu Xilin, director of the External Economic Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Commerce at a press conference in Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian.


"This is an important component of cross-Straits trade cooperation," Wu said.


"However, the legitimate interests of mainland fishermen could not be effectively protected previously, (hence the suspension).


"Conflicts frequently occurred due to the absence of a functional cross-Straits fishermen cooperation mechanism."


During the suspension, many Taiwan organizations contacted mainland counterparts, hoping that the mainland would resume cooperation, said Diao Chunhe, director of the Fishery Labor Cooperation Coordination Committee for the Two Sides of the Straits.


The mainland has been actively creating opportunities for the restoration of labor export to Taiwan and were instrumental in pushing forward negotiations between non-governmental fishery associations from both sides of the Straits, Diao said.


So far, the mainland has signed cooperation agreements with three Taiwan fishery organizations.


"One of the key contents of the agreement is how to protect the legitimate rights of mainland fishery workers," Diao added.


He told reporters that the agreement stipulates a minimum monthly salary of US$280 for new fishermen and US$320 for experienced ones.


Taiwan fishery managers are also required to buy life and medical insurance policies for each mainland fisherman. The employers and workers must also sign a uniform labor contract.


According to the agreement, a series of systems should be established to handle any emergencies and complaints from fishermen.


Officials revealed that the mainland is expected to provide more professional training programs to fishing workers in the near future.


"We do hope the Taiwan authorities respond positively and support to the resumption of the fishery labor cooperation to make it run smoothly," Diao said.


(China Daily May 19, 2006)

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