Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 1 News List

ECFA to continue despite poll outcome

TRANSPARENCY PROMISES The president said he would forge ahead with the ECFA, but promised to keep the legislature informed and make the negotiations transparent

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday there was no need to revise the government’s cross-strait policies despite the party’s lackluster performance in Saturday’s local elections.

Wu made the remarks when asked for comment on whether the poll results would affect the government’s plans for an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China or its other cross-strait policies.

“There is no need to fine-tune our cross-strait policy,” Wu said, adding that the government would pursue policies in line with the principles of “putting Taiwan first” and “benefiting the public.”

An ECFA can be signed as long as three conditions are met: The nation needs it, the public supports it and there is legislative oversight, he said, adding that the ECFA will proceed as scheduled — meaning that it should be inked at the fifth round of cross-strait talks early next year.

“That’s the plan for now, but we need more public support,” Wu said. “Surveys conducted recently showed that approval rates were between 50 and 56 percent. If the rate goes above 60 percent and the disapproval rate falls below 20 percent that will be better for signing the ECFA.”

The government has not dispelled the public’s misunderstandings concerning the ECFA, Wu said, adding that it would step up its efforts.

“In southern Taiwan, there are people saying that the government has allowed [imports of] many agricultural products from the mainland since [President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office], but that’s not true … Also, on labor matters, there is a false rumor about [Taiwan importing] mainland workers [after singing an ECFA],” Wu said.

At a separate setting yesterday, Ma vowed to forge ahead with the ECFA, but promised to keep the legislature informed and make the negotiations and content as transparent as possible.

Ma said his administration would work to convince the public that not signing an ECFA would be detrimental to the nation.

“Our policy is to take a Taiwan-centric approach,” he said. “We will further the interests of Taiwanese. Cross-strait negotiations will benefit both sides if they are conducted under the principle of equality and dignity.”

Ma made the remarks while meeting winners of this year’s National Outstanding Manager Awards at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

With the fourth round of high-level, cross-strait talks scheduled to take place in Taichung later this month, Ma said there would not be any “politically sensitive language” in the agreements to be signed because they were “very technical” in nature.

The talks between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), will address four issues: fishing industry cooperation, quality checks of agricultural products, cooperation on inspection and certification, and preventing double taxation.

Ma said he has asked government agencies to make the four agreements as transparent as possible. Citing the financial memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed with Beijing, Ma said the public would know that it is not political as soon as the Financial Supervisory Commission makes public the content.

In order to maintain the principles of equality and dignity, Ma said both sides had used less sensitive titles to dodge the sovereignty issue.

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