Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Academics say CECA is a unification trade trap

THREAT The MAC chief defended the government's stand on inking a CECA, saying it would cause neither an influx of Chinese workers nor products into Taiwan

By Jenny W. Hsu and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Dismissing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) criticism that a CECA would marginalize local industries, Lai said the pact would promote cross-strait economic exchanges without damaging Taiwan’s economic independence.

Lai said in an article published in the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday: “The opposition party confuses the CECA with a free trade agreement. Taiwan would never implement a full opening to mainland China regardless of the agreements signed to normalize cross-strait economic exchanges.”

Lai brushed off Tsai and the DPP’s concerns about the agreement’s threat to local businesses and workers, saying the president had promised on several occasions that the government would not allow Chinese workers or more Chinese agricultural products to enter the domestic market as part of the agreement.

In an interview with the Taipei Times on Wednesday, Ma reiterated the government’s plan to sign a CECA with China, but repeated his promise that he would not permit an influx of Chinese workers nor an increase in imports of Chinese agricultural products after the pact is signed.

Lai said the government would evaluate the effectiveness and consequences of the CECA, and protect local industries and Taiwan’s sovereignty in the process of the normalization of cross-strait economic and trade exchanges.

The signing of a CECA will affect people’s lives, and the issue should not be simplified into a matter of ideology, she said.

It is unrealistic to treat the CECA as a panacea for the nation’s economic woes, she said.

It was also hasty to assert that the agreement will come at the cost of Taiwan’s sovereignty and economic independence, she said.

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