Sat, Jun 05, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Opposition vows ‘10-year’ ECFA fight

PUBLIC RIGHTThe DPP and the TSU said rejecting an ECFA referendum proposal was illegal and unconstitutional and raised concerns about KMT government interference

By Vincent Y. Chao and William Lowther  /  STAFF REPORTERS IN TAIPEI AND WASHINGTON

The Ma government has also said that benefits from the agreement would far outweigh its potential affect on Taiwan’s vulnerable industries. The president has said that he would establish a 10-year, NT$95 billion (US$2.94 billion) fund to aid industries that might be hard hit by the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), the largest organization representing the Taiwanese community in the US, also condemned the committee’s decision and said it was “dismayed” at the outcome.

“This is another blow to democracy in Taiwan,” FAPA president Bob Yang (楊英育) said. “A referendum is a basic mechanism by the people of Taiwan to express their views on the very controversial ECFA proposal by the Ma government. It is unconscionable for the Ma government to block this proposal.”

US government sources refused to comment on the latest development, saying it was an internal issue and Washington did not want to interfere.

However, the administration of US President Barack Obama is basically in favor of an ECFA and closer Taiwan-China ties. Over the past few months, US administration officials speaking in private have appeared to be concerned that a referendum would prove to be a setback for the proposed trade pact.

FAPA is now in touch with the White House and with members of the US Congress, urging them to “prevail on the authorities in Taiwan to lift the blockage and respect the basic principles of democracy.”

However, the effort is unlikely to have much impact on Obama and the ruling Democrats, who are largely responsible for holding up a US free trade pact with Taiwan.

“We Taiwanese-Americans, together with the people in Taiwan, have worked hard for our democracy and we will not let the Ma government take it away,” Yang said.

Also See: Premier supports referendum decision

Also See: Activists, academics pan decision on referendum

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