Thu, Nov 05, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP pans Ma over failed trade promises

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government has grossly overestimated the benefits of its previous agreements with China and inking an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with Beijing as proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be a “disaster,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

“The government has failed miserably to deliver on its promises on the benefits of opening Taiwan's borders to China. Therefore, how can we trust this administration when it says an ECFA will be good for Taiwan?” she said.

Tsai was referring to the four agreements signed between Taiwan and China last November when Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) met China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in Taiwan.

The four agreements included the opening of the “three links” — direct air, sea transport and postal services — plus an agreement on food safety.

Tsai said under the agreements, the government promised to seek compensation from Beijing on behalf of 12 Taiwanese firms for the damage caused by imports of melamine-tainted milk products from China last year.

“But so far we haven't heard a word on it,” she said, adding that the Ma administration had destroyed public confidence in the nation’s leadership.

She added that if the government could miss the target so badly on the benefits of the “three links,” all the promises of potential positive economic and social impacts of an ECFA “are all figments of the government's imagination.”

According to a recent report by the DPP, Ma's direct flight policy had failed to turn Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport into a “major Asian transport hub” as promised as its regional ranking in passenger flights fell from 14th to 18th.

Kaohsiung International Airport also dropped to 54th place from 45th last year.

Cargo flights have also been far below the anticipated numbers, the DPP said, adding that direct cargo flights to Guangzhou were scrapped after less than a month because of low demand.

The number of Chinese tourists was also disappointingly low at an average of 1,300 people, compared with the government's promise of 3,000 per day, the DPP said.

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