The right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government is now preparing to literally give away the power to make or break Taiwan's economy and officially surrender Taiwan's sovereignty to the hostile People's Republic of China.As Taiwan News goes on to say, this is the pandas in economic form:
This surrender may be contained in a proposed "comprehensive economic cooperation agreement" (CECA) which Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan announced Sunday is now a "fixed policy" of President Ma Ying-jeou's restored KMT government.
Lai's statement responded to a joint demand issued Thursday by Taiwan's six major industrial and commercial business associations for the KMT government to accelerate the signing of a CECA with Beijing to avoid being "marginalized" from the PRC market.
Although floated by Ma last April, the KMT government had appeared to treat the notion as a longer-term goal to be handled after "normalizing" direct transportation links and opening up tourism.
Without carrying out any substantive feasibility or "economic and social impact" assessment, the KMT government has already rushed into unilaterally easing regulatory firewalls on outgoing equity and portfolio investment into the PRC and plans to sign a financial services "memorandum of understanding" in the near future that would open the doors of our banking market to the PRC.
Without pausing to build a consensus in Taiwan society beyond the bounds of its "enterprise friends," the KMT now aims to step up the pace of Taiwan's integration into the PRC economy by lowering most regulatory firewalls in industrial and agricultural trade.
Indeed, claims by KMT officials or mouthpieces that a CECA or even a CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Agreement) is an "economic" agreement are exercises in deception that aims to pull the wool over the eyes of Taiwan's 23 million citizens and are not shared by PRC leaders who realize that politics and economics are indivisible.If the KMT was treating Taiwan and China as separate nations, then all WTO members would get the benefits of this agreement -- but they are not. This is another "domestic" arrangement. Our sovereignty is dying the death of a thousand cuts, and some, like this one, are much deeper than others.
The dead giveaway (or horse's leg) lies in the CECA's concept inclusion of features such as bilateral reductions in customs duties and for the duty free entry of 90 percent of exports into each other's market that would be exclusive to the two signatories.
Unless such concessions are simultaneously extended to all members of the World Trade Organization, to which both the PRC and Taiwan belong, under the WTO's "most favored nation" rule, the proposed CECA will not be legally under WTO rules as a "free trade area" agreement signed between two equal states but as an arrangement between the PRC central government and a nominally "separate" but subordinate "customs area" which is under the same national roof.
Hey, anyone remember when the media reported that Lai Hsin-yuan was pro-independence? ROFL.
Today's news noted that the CECA discussions will not take place in the next round of
Strait Exchange Foundation President Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) today said that the signing of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) is not included in the third round of cross-strait talks because a consensus should be reached first by experts from both sides.This is the "shock doctrine" version of the CECA call -- if we don't get this, our economy is going to go bust! Better go for it! It also appeals to the latent fear in so many Taiwanese of being weeded out. The reason given for the lack of discussion between the KMT and the CCP on CECA is the need for further "expert" discussion -- experts whose role is to reduce the public to passive observers of decisions made by their "betters." There is actually no hurry on this -- the ASEAN + 1 free trade zone of ASEAN plus China does not go online until 2010 -- and no doubt it will be more symbolic than actual, since only someone utterly stupid or totally venal would have completely unimpaired trade with economy like China's. There's a reason why all the nations around China limit its impact on their economy.
The head of the semi-official organization in charge of cross-strait affairs today made the comment when attending The 9th Cross-strait, Hong Kong and Macau Economic Cooperation Seminar.
In terms of the call to the government from Taiwan’s plastics union to sign the CECA, Chiang said the agreement among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, and South Korea put great pressure on Taiwanese industries. It also reminds people of the necessity and urgent need of the CECA signing with China, said Chiang.
Taiwan's plastics maker union yesterday called on the government to engage talks with China on export tariff exemptions, as Taiwanese industries face the threat of zero-tariff pacts between ASEAN members, China, Japan and South Korea.
The party that actually cares about the island, the DPP, is dead set against CECA:
It always make me either cringe or laugh when people say the KMT and the DPP are the same. Which one is calling for democratic transparency, oversight, and participation in this process? Hint: it ain't the KMT.
The DPP strongly opposes the inking of the CECA between Taiwan and China in the absence of effective evaluation and social consensus. “Recklessly signing the CECA will deepen social conflict in Taiwan, and Taiwan may become overly reliant on China economically and finally become a subordinate to China,” Tsai said.
The DPP head asserted that all cross-strait negotiations and relevant policy-making process should be made totally transparent, and both the Legislative Yuan and political parties must establish an effective supervisory mechanism in this regard.
On a related note, CNN reported a half-hour ago that Taiwan is in a recession:
Taiwan's economy slumped 8.36 percent during the last three months of 2008, the government said Wednesday.Ma save us!
The island's economy spiraled into recession with its second straight quarter of economic losses. For the third quarter of 2008, Taiwan's real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, slipped about 1 percent, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.