I know everyone is heartily sick of ECFA, but that agreement is like your unemployed brother-in-law: here to stay. Today's offering is the pas de deux that involves Legislative Speaker Wang of the KMT and the Executive Branch over the status of ECFA. The Taipei Times issued a long one on it, well worth reading in its entirety. Some choice quotes:
The government yesterday defined the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China as a quasi-treaty and said the legislature could ratify or reject it as a package, but could not amend its contents article by article.According to recent reports, if ECFA is a treaty, then the legislature must accept or reject it as a package. If it is an agreement, then the legislature can review it line by line. Naturally the Ma Administration wants it to be a treaty.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who had previously said the ECFA was “more like a treaty,” was at odds with Legislative Speaker Wang Jyn-ping (王金平)...
.....who said the ECFA was an agreement and not a quasi-treaty...
....yesterday modified [Premier Wu]'s stance on the matter, saying the ECFA was “not a kind of treaty,” but that its “contents, appearance and the nature of the ECFA makes it look similar to a treaty.”
Despite saying the ECFA was not a treaty, Wu said the legislature can only vote to ratify or reject the ECFA and not review it article by article.
At a separate setting yesterday, Wang said it would be “very difficult” for the ECFA to clear the legislative floor.
The legislature is expected to call a provisional session on Monday at the earliest to screen and finalize the format in which the ECFA will be reviewed.
Wang said that even though the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) holds a majority in the legislature, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could still resort to procedural strategy to block the agreement from being put to a vote.
“Even if the KMT owns a majority of seats, it cannot get whatever it wants all the time,” Wang said.
Note the hasty backtracking -- to sign a "treaty" with China is to recognize it, which the KMT government cannot do. Thus Ma first said ECFA was a treaty, bascially following his usual line of sovereignty is whatever I say it is whenever I say it, then the government coined a whole new status of "quasi-treaty" to define ECFA. Hey --whatever is necessary to prevent the legislature from stopping ECFA.
This twisting to prevent legislative review is part of a larger KMT program of keeping ECFA away from democratic oversight, which also includes swatting down referendums. The interesting thing is why Ma feels he needs to avoid the oversight of a legislature his party ostensibly controls. ECFA steps on quite a few local toes and Ma of course is probably as unpopular in his own party as he is in the nation at large.
Even more interesting is the position of Wang. What kind of game is he playing? Is he trying to get the DPP to run interference for him to stop ECFA while piously claiming he has no control over the opposition party in the legislature? Is he warning Ma that this is possible and Ma better cough up some quid pro quo? Is he just trying to create the appearance that the legislature will do its job? Or just tweaking Ma out of old political rivalry?
Speaker Wang is/was a bitter rival of Ma, and lost a KMT chairmanship vote to the President in an election in which Wang had the support of Party elites while the Deep Blue rank and file all voted for Ma. In 2008 Wang was making noises about substantive legislative review of ECFA.
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Spain imported vast amounts of goods yet exported little. Her balance of trade deficit was large and had to be made good by the bringing in of more bullion. The fact that bullion imports were shrinking greatly hampered Spain. The fall in silver imports lead to the government minting copper coinage called vellon. 1599 to 1620 saw two decades of vellon production. This had a two-fold effect. First, it increased inflation. Secondly, it created a crisis in confidence. Such short-term remedies failed to work and mostly made matters worse. An economy survives on confidence. By debasing her economy, Spain was signalling to other nations that her economy was in trouble. No-one valued the new coinage. Ironically, the copper to produce the vellon came from protestant Sweden, was purchased in Amsterdam and paid for with silver._______________________
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