Thursday, July 29, 2010

New legislative report confirms ECFA issues

New reports from the legislature on ECFA from the Taiwan News. Read the whole thing....it is easy to see why KMT elites struggled to keep the legislature from reviewing the bill. Note that the report says that China will block FTAs, and that it will insist on annexing Taiwan. D'oh.

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Taiwan News

The substantive risks to Taiwan's national security, economic autonomy and democratic health posed by the controversial "Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China have been confirmed by reports drafted by the legal affairs and budget research departments of the Legislative Yuan.

Although the drafts have not yet been finalized, the nine reports are based on substantive research and investigation tours in both Hong Kong and Macau to examine the impact of the "closer economic partnership agreements" (CEPA) signed between the two PRC "special administrative regions" and the Beijing central government.

The preliminary results of the Legislative studies conflict sharply with the incessant attempts by President Ma Ying-jeou and numerous senior officials of his rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government to paint opposition to ECFA as "alarmist" or "ideological."

Among the topics reviewed are the impact of the CEPA on social equity and employment, the economic impact of the revaluation of the renminbi, PRC economic policy toward Taiwan in the wake of the ECFA signing, the termination and conflict resolution mechanisms in ECFA, the economic impact of regional trade agreements focused on the ECFA, issues concerning the FTA between the PRC and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the question of rules of original production in regional trade agreements, the experience of Hong Kong and Macau in permitting Chinese students to study in the two SARs and the influence of the CEPAs on news freedom.

The existence of this study indicates that the leadership of the Legislative Yuan was preparing for a detailed and substantive review of the ECFA and was not planning to simply immediately refer the draft pact and four associated sets of legal revisions for immediate second reading, a decision that excluded article by article review and discussion in legislative committee.

The release of this report before July 9 could well have raised sufficient public concern to stymie the ramming of the referral of the ECFA package to a second reading over the physical objections of opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers, especially since its contents confirm that the issues raised by DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and numerous economists were valid.

Warnings for the future

For example, unlike the Ma government, the Legislative Yuan report clearly warned that PRC leaders have historically displayed strategic "consistency" and "continuity" and acknowledged that Beijing defines the ECFA as a pact signed "under the one-China principle" and that the touted benefits in "international space" and "economic cooperation" are offered "under the precondition of the 'one China principle."'

Moreover, the Legislative report cautioned that the PRC could adopt a negotiating strategy of "initially making concessions and then using such "benefits" to compel Taiwan to accept political negotiations" and use a possible "peace agreement" as an "peaceful unification framework agreement."

However, unlike the Ma government, the Legislative report acknowledged that there were grave risks for Taiwan of falling into a 'one China' trap"' as political factors manifest an "invisible catalyst effect" and consolidate the PRC's leadership advantage in promoting a substantive "one country, two systems" and creating the international impression that "Taiwan and the mainland have indivisible sovereignty."

Ironically, PRC officials have already fulfilled the prediction by the Legislative Yuan report that Beijing would "uphold the one China principle" even with "more flexibility in interpretation" as shown by the affirmation by PRC Deputy Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng Monday that the ECFA was signed under the "one China principle" and that the PRC government continued to oppose any FTAs between Taiwan and any other country.[MT -- LT has it]

In sum, the reports by the legal affairs and budget offices of the Legislative Yuan confirm that concerns over the negotiation and structuring of the ECFA and its future economic, social, political and cultural implications and potential impact on Taiwan's national security, sovereignty and democratic system (including news freedom) are absolutely not "alarmist" but should have been earmarked for consideration in the process of the negotiating strategy and the structuring of the ECFA.

On the contrary, the question of how the KMT government and authorized negotiators failed to effectively incorporate preventative or complementary measures to address such risks in the ECFA and what measures the KMT government and Taiwan private enterprises and civic organizations must take in the future to safeguard our quality and standard of life and our democratic independence will become even more salient and pressing in the future.

No less serious is the fact that the immediate referral to a second reading also blocks the holding of public hearings during which the public and related industrial and commercial associations as well as concerned labor, environmental, consumer and civic reform organizations could have provided citizen input.

Despite the obvious intent by the KMT to use its overwhelming legislative majority to avoid substantive discussion or debate of the ECFA accord and its implications, it is to be hoped that an upcoming "virtual review" of the pact by a coalition of civic reform and social movement organizations can at least raise important questions and provoke a serious response from the Ma administration.
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Kyodo news wrote yesterday:
The joint report by the Budget Center and the Legislative Research Bureau is the first official document to suggest there are serious economic and security weaknesses with the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement -- in stark contrast to the enthusiasm with which government legislators greeted the deal on the legislative floor.

The report is for legislators' eyes only and will not be publicly released, but a copy obtained by Kyodo News included extensive discussion of Beijing's goals and strategies in cross-strait detente.

It said the ECFA is a key element in China's attempt to achieve unification with Taiwan.
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The legislative report said Beijing intends to use the ECFA to lock Taiwan's economy into a Chinese special economic zone and dramatically increase the island's dependence on China.
It contains little of the optimism of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who has said the ECFA will encourage other states to sign free trade agreements with Taiwan by reducing the possibility of objections from Beijing.

The report said, however, that China's interference with future Taiwan FTAs ''not only carries sovereign implications -- intervention and obstruction being an expression of (China's) claim to sovereignty over Taiwan -- but also has the strategic goal of attempting an 'economic siege of Taiwan' and disallowing development of more intimate economic relations with other states.''

It said that the ''one China'' principle is the greatest obstacle to Taiwan signing FTAs, while national security will suffer from China's targeting of strategic industries and the financial system, as well as from the posting of Chinese officials in Taiwan.

Eventually, China hopes the ECFA and other incentives aimed at the Taiwanese public will force the government to start political negotiations, it said.
The new Japanese Ambassador [to China] recently reiterated Japan's long-standing position that the status of Taiwan is undetermined, also the US position..... very interesting things going on.
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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Michael, "Japan's Ambassador" to what exactly? Last I checked Japan did not have an embassy on Taiwan. Nor is the head of the Japanese liaison office an Ambassador. I understand your frustration that Japan and the US, on paper Taiwan's natural allies, still strenuously refuse to formally recognise Taiwan (which, for now at least, is fantasy politics, as the only entity currently and formally recognised by anyone at all is the Republic of China).

What I don't understand, however, is your apparent impression that Japan and the US are some deus ex machina that could miraculously safeguard the future democracy, prosperity and sovereignty.

Sure, China might blink if pressed, but I don't seriously believe that the US and, especially, Japan would engage in prolonged brinksmanship with a nuclear armed power for the sake of the formal sovereignty of Taiwan. An invasion might still draw the US in, as an unpunished act of aggression in East Asia may strike at the US' "core interests" (funny how it is "legitimate" for the US to have these throughout the world, and "illegitimate" for other countries to have these in their real or perceived "backyards"), but I don't really see public opinion in Washington or, indeed, anywhere in the world being roused to fight for Taiwanese nationalism.

Michael Turton said...

Sorry, Michael, "Japan's Ambassador" to what exactly? Last I checked Japan did not have an embassy on Taiwan. Nor is the head of the Japanese liaison office an Ambassador.

to China. added.

What I don't understand, however, is your apparent impression that Japan and the US are some deus ex machina that could miraculously safeguard the future democracy, prosperity and sovereignty.

What I don't understand is how you could possibly imagine that I think that.

D said...

"What I don't understand, however, is your apparent impression that Japan and the US are some deus ex machina that could miraculously safeguard the future democracy, prosperity and sovereignty. "

Hmm, I think that. Not 100%, and not as a god outside of the machine but as a god inside of the machine, and minus "miraculously", and not so sure about "prosperity". But maybe 85%, or 50% with another 35% being Taiwan's own actions. Does that make me naive?

No details in these stories, just statements of the obvious: that ECFA is part of China's plan to take over Taiwan. Ma never said it wasn't -- he just said "they have their ideas, we have ours" and avoided talking about China's motives as much as possible. He window-dressed it, this report apparently doesn't.

Richard said...

While the US and Japan may not be a "deus ex machina," I do believe they are a key component to Taiwan's future - whatever that may be. While the U.S. may have no interests in a prolonged stand-off with China, over the Taiwan issue - I also believe that the U.S. would not simply let China run over Taiwan. The actual response is the question - how fast and how much?

Anonymous said...

This administration seems to have a "stuff-down-the-throat-and-stifle-questions-later" approach, and it's admittedly working. Force the public to swallow a bitter pill and then silence all complaining, which inevitably dies down in a matter of months or years.

Anonymous said...

I also believe that the U.S. would not simply let China run over Taiwan.

I believe that was the US policy for Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

'nuff said?

Thomas said...

"I believe that was the US policy for Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia and Laos."

What a stupid comparison. So, in your estimation, the fact that the US had to pull out after many years of fighting and very high losses equals allowing the former Indochina to be overrun? So the US must be victorious in the end, no matter what the costs, in order for the US to not be accused of letting hostile powers have their way? Yeah, it is "nuff said", about your powers of reasoning.

Latuza said...

Ma is simply lying when he said the government is avidly seeking to sign FTAs with other major trading partners.

AIT director and American Chamber of Commerce have called for US-Taiwan FTA or at least TIFA, but US Secretary of State speaker has repeatedly said that FTA is not possible, but may try to resume TIFA talks, which ended at the end to Chen Administration. This meant Ma simply have only focused on China, while other ties languished, with no talks even remotely underway.

Japan is too distracted with internal political turmoil to mount any serious FTA talks with Taiwan against China pressure. ASEAN? even Phillipines don't see that as a pressing matter, despite that it probably has the most to lose from ECFA, yet gain from TAiwan-Ph FTA.

Ma said ECFA must pre-empt signing of FTAs between Japan and Korea, Taiwan's most serious competitors. It's not even urgent, because during the Tsai-Ma debate he said ECFA triggered calls in Korea to quckly pursue and reach a deal on a China-Korea FTA. Which means it wasn't even a serious consideration in Korea to start with.

KMT touted ECFA as a tonic or panacea, and ignored its risks. If ECFA is so great, why aren't any advanced nations (US, EU, Korea, Japan) actively pursuing FTA with China to boost their economies at this time (except Singapore)? This exposes the truth that ECFA is much more toxic than it's supposed benefits, as recent US protectionist actions (anti-dumping tariffs) against China over steel have demonstrated. No other nation thinks FTA with China is such a great thing, except Ma who likes to sugarcoat it in order to advance his eventual unification agenda. Even TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductors) board of director is surprised at such heated debate ECFA has caused in Taiwan, b/c he thinks it's not that big of a deal, since tariffs plays only a little into a company's competitiveness.

Ma is also a terrible negotiator with China, who has not soften even a little on their stance of "1 China policy" sovereignty claims, opposition to Taiwan FTA with other nations, opposition to transfer rights for Taiwan airlines, opposition to tariff exemptions for TAiwan industries that China want to absorb (or steal) technologies from (TFT-LCD panels, chip-making, petrochemicals, etc.)

All I can say is where things stand now, Ma's chance for re-election is only jeopardized by the fact that it's clear no Taiwan FTAs with major trading partners will materialize before 2012. But the question is, will Taiwan survive from being decisively co-opted into China's sphere before then or soon after.

Anonymous said...

Ma is simply lying when he said the government is avidly seeking to sign FTAs with other major trading partners.

AIT director and American Chamber of Commerce have called for US-Taiwan FTA or at least TIFA, but US Secretary of State speaker has repeatedly said that FTA is not possible, but may try to resume TIFA talks, which ended at the end to Chen Administration. This meant Ma simply have only focused on China, while other ties languished, with no talks even remotely underway.

Japan is too distracted with internal political turmoil to mount any serious FTA talks with Taiwan against China pressure. ASEAN? even Phillipines don't see that as a pressing matter, despite that it probably has the most to lose from ECFA, yet gain from TAiwan-Ph FTA.

Ma said ECFA must pre-empt signing of FTAs between Japan and Korea, Taiwan's most serious competitors. It's not even urgent, because during the Tsai-Ma debate he said ECFA triggered calls in Korea to quckly pursue and reach a deal on a China-Korea FTA. Which means it wasn't even a serious consideration in Korea to start with.

KMT touted ECFA as a tonic or panacea, and ignored its risks. If ECFA is so great, why aren't any advanced nations (US, EU, Korea, Japan) actively pursuing FTA with China to boost their economies at this time (except Singapore)? This exposes the truth that ECFA is much more toxic than it's supposed benefits, as recent US protectionist actions (anti-dumping tariffs) against China over steel have demonstrated. No other nation thinks FTA with China is such a great thing, except Ma who likes to sugarcoat it in order to advance his eventual unification agenda. Even TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductors) board of director is surprised at such heated debate ECFA has caused in Taiwan, b/c he thinks it's not that big of a deal, since tariffs plays only a little into a company's competitiveness.

Ma is also a terrible negotiator with China, who has not soften even a little on their stance of "1 China policy" sovereignty claims, opposition to Taiwan FTA with other nations, opposition to transfer rights for Taiwan airlines, opposition to tariff exemptions for TAiwan industries that China want to absorb (or steal) technologies from (TFT-LCD panels, chip-making, petrochemicals, etc.)

All I can say is where things stand now, Ma's chance for re-election is only jeopardized by the fact that it's clear no Taiwan FTAs with major trading partners will materialize before 2012. But the question is, will Taiwan survive from being decisively co-opted into China's sphere before then or soon after.