Ahead of the second anniversary of the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers yesterday cited economic data in their criticism of the pact, saying the ECFA damaged, rather than benefited, the nation’s economy.
TSU Legislator Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government had claimed that tariffs on Taiwan’s exports to China could be reduced by about US$9 billion annually after signing the ECFA with China. Last year, the tariffs were reduced by only about US$100 million, Hsu said.
He added that Taiwan’s exports to China did not see any obvious increase following the signing of the pact. Instead, last year the growth in Taiwan’s exports to China was for the first time smaller than the growth in Taiwan’s overall exports, he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s imports from China increased quickly after the ECFA was signed, he added.
Pointing to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that it would be easier for Taiwan to sign free-trade agreements (FTAs) with foreign countries after the ECFA was signed, TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said that after two years, only five minor trading partners have signed FTAs with Taiwan and that together they accounted for less than 1 percent of Taiwan’s trade.
The party urged the government to suspend negotiations on economic affairs until after a referendum on the ECFA was held.
At a separate event, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) yesterday said China was a very important trade partner and that without the ECFA, Taiwan would not be able to compete with other countries there.
Additional reporting by CNA