The cross-strait service trade agreement is a “perfect political agreement” to bring Taiwan into China’s fold and presents no economic benefits to Taiwan, US academic John Tkacik said.
Tkacik, senior fellow at the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, made the remarks on Saturday at a forum in Taipei hosted by the World Taiwanese Congress and the Taiwan National Alliance.
The cross-strait service trade pact, signed in June last year, and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 are incomparable with other trade agreements Taiwan holds with other nations, such as the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) or the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), said Tkacik, a retired US diplomat with 35 years of service in Taiwan, China and Mongolia.
ASTEP and ANZTEC were signed under the WTO framework and enjoyed legal protection such as third party mediation and other resolutions and the equal stature of WTO members ensured a real increase in Taiwan’s export, whereas the cross-strait service trade agreement does not fall under such a category of trade agreements, he said.
The tertiary sectors in Taiwan and China are fundamentally different; the Chinese government is heavily involved in all of its tertiary sector, leading to a larger scale and more xenophobia, while the Taiwanese tertiary sector is smaller, but more vibrant, Tkacik said.
Chinese industries opened to Taiwan in the agreements are in Fujian Province and are excessively restricted, Tkacik said, adding that this observations led him to believe the Chinese were simply treating Taiwan as an extension of Fujian Province.
The more competitive Taiwanese financial industry would only exert minimal influence on its Chinese counterpart, Tkacik said.
Chinese investors would hold off investments in printing and electronic businesses due to the many restrictions, but Taiwanese middle-class economy would still be heavily impacted, he said.
In response to media inquiries, Tkacik said that only a few would benefit from the service trade agreement despite the seemingly rising number of Taiwanese businesspeople asking the government to ratify the agreement.
Taiwan as a whole would suffer if the agreement was ratified, Tkacik said, adding that he was perplexed why Taiwanese businesspeople needed more liberty when there is a far more illberal investment environment in China than other nations.
On President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s claims that the service trade agreement would help Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Tkacik said the opposite would probably be true as the service trade agreement would only muddy waters on increased economic integration between Taiwan and the US due to the pact’s lack of transparency.
It may cause the US to reconsider whether Taiwan would be China’s backdoor into the US market, Tkacik added.
Legislative committees on Wednesday began a joint review of the pact, but no progress has been made.
More confrontations are expected when the legislature tries to continue the review this week.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient