To make matters worse, the snail’s pace of negotiations between Taiwan and China on follow-up agreements to the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), plus the opposition parties’ inevitable negative reaction to anything involving China, may allow the South Korea-China FTA to overtake the cross-strait trade liberalization process. That would give South Korea’s exports to China better tariff advantages than those accorded to Taiwan, and if that happens, Taiwan’s economic climate will go from bad to worse.
Although the TPP is likely to be finalized by the end of this year, followed next year by the South Korea-China FTA, Taiwan’s government and opposition still refuse to contemplate the risk of Taiwan getting marginalized by these regional agreements. They dare not talk about the problem of increased farm-product imports that is bound to come up with TPP negotiations, nor are they willing to face up to the impact that the South Korea-China FTA will have on Taiwanese industry.
It is a tragedy for Taiwan that our politicians are so blind to the unprecedented changes taking place in East Asia, and that they cannot offer any answer to the ongoing trend of manufacturers closing their factories in Taiwan and setting up business elsewhere.
Julian Kuo is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Julian Clegg