Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday called on the agricultural sector to support a government plan to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China and counter opposition from the Democratic progressive Party (DPP).
Liu's remarks came in the wake of the DPP's proposal to launch a referendum on the proposed ECFA. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration has rejected the idea.
“Once you have a better understanding of the content of the ECFA and its impact, I hope you can all support the policy,” Liu told 116 representatives of agricultural associations attending a forum organized by the Council of Agriculture.
Liu said the strong opposition from the DPP has led to some misunderstandings about the effects of an ECFA on the country.
The administration says that an ECFA with Beijing would boost the nation's competitiveness and prevent Taiwan from being marginalized after the ASEAN-China free trade bloc takes effect next year.
Liu assured the leaders that the government would maintain its “three nos” and “three yes” policies during negotiations with Beijing.
The “three nos” refer to President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) promise of no unification, no independence and no use of force.
“[Signing an ECFA] will not compromise Taiwan's sovereignty. We will not open the country to Chinese workers, nor will we agree to more imports of [Chinese] agricultural products,” Liu said.
Taiwan opened its market to 1,417 Chinese agricultural products during the DPP administration after Taiwan and China joined the WTO in 2002, Liu said, adding that his administration would maintain the ban on another 830 agricultural products from China.
With regards to the “three yes,” Liu said the government would first seek public consensus on signing an ECFA, as well as adopt a gradual approach to opening the country's market to China and easing restrictions on China-bound investments.
Liu said the third yes would be to expand relations with other countries as signing an ECFA with China would help reduce barriers to Taiwan signing free-trade agreements with its trading partners.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
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