Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Little achieved at ECFA negotiations

FAST, EASY, LESS Delegates reached a consensus on the labeling of product origin, but neither side revealed its product list on the much-anticipated ‘early harvest’ items

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER, IN TAOYUAN

The proposed accord would address the protection of intellectual property rights and investment, he said, adding that both sides would also arrange another time to discuss whether to include the financial industry in the “early harvest” list.

During a banquet last night, Tang said both sides resolved many problems over the past two days and that he hoped they were “at the last stage as success is near.”

Outside the talk’s venue yesterday morning, the China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) mobilized about 30 members to voice their support for the trade pact.

Law enforcement authorities deployed at the road leading to Ta Shee Resort, where the meeting was being held, ordered the group to refrain from getting closer to the handful of demonstrators protesting nearby against an ECFA.

The CUPP is a political group established by Chang An-le (張安樂), the former leader of the Bamboo Union gang. He is also known as “White Wolf.”

A man named Chang Chih-min (張志民) was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying that the group initially had no plans of mobilizing people to the venue.

“But after seeing the protest staged by the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] yesterday [Wednesday,] the chief [Chang An-le] wanted us to come over and ­express our support [for an ECFA] so that it doesn’t appear one-sided, with only people who oppose the pact,” he was quoted as saying.

Members of the group staged a protest when police, some clad in riot gear, questioned some of the group members dressed in black.

The move drew opposition from the group, which accused the police of being unfair.

“We are patriotic, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the DPP who bullied you [police] yesterday,” several members told the police.

In response, Shih Chung-chin (施忠進), head of Dasi Precinct’s Criminal Investigation Corps, said they had to question the black-clad members as they had to be accountable to the public.

“We had to do it or the public would criticize the police for not taking precautionary steps to prevent potential clashes or criminal activity,” Shih said, adding that police had to determine whether there were minors in the group.

The group dispersed at about 10am after CUPP spokesman Tang Ching-sheng (唐警生) arrived and led them in chanting slogans in support of an ECFA.

Around noon, Tung Chung-yan (童仲彥), a former political talk show host on Formosa TV who staged a one-man protest at the lobby of Ta Shee Resort, found himself surrounded by police.

Chanting “Taiwan, China are two countries on each side of the Taiwan Strait,” Tung, who is runing for Taipei City councilor in November, introduced himself before he began his protest. Tung was surrounded by the police and media before he was forced into a police car.

At a separate setting, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he “could not guarantee” other countries would want to negotiate a free-trade agreement [FTA] with Taiwan after both sides sign an ECFA.

“But the atmosphere will at least improve,” he said while meeting board members of the Junior Chamber International Taiwan at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

“As the president of the Republic of China, I have the responsibility to lead a way out for Taiwan,” he said. “Only by opening up can Taiwan become more prosperous. Walling ourselves in will only lead to recession.”

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