Economic development should transcend party lines and political ideology, and Taiwan should transform itself into a “value-added island” to increase its global competitiveness, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said yesterday.
Siew — who served as vice president between 2008 and this year under Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration, spoke about Taiwan’s economic policy in front of dozens of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members, including former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
In a 90-minute speech delivered at the office of Tsai’s Thinking Taiwan Foundation, the veteran KMT official — who is known for his economic expertise — said he envisioned Taiwan as a country that thrives on value-added service.
Throughout his 40-year career as a public servant, Siew said, he has always taken pride in being someone who promoted inter-party collaboration.
However, the KMT official and his DPP counterparts appeared to differ on their views of cross-strait economics.
Thinking Taiwan Foundation executive director Lin Chuan (林全) said the former vice president had argued that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) — which Taiwan signed with China in 2009 — had brought Taiwan more benefits than losses and had created opportunities for the nation.
Asked about the poor economic performance of the incumbent Ma administration, Siew was reluctant to offer criticism and said the slow economy had more to do with the “global situation.”
“While most people would have no problem with Siew’s vision, I feel that the DPP and the KMT have fundamental differences in their views on cross-strait trade and the economy,” said a DPP member at the speech, who wished to remain anonymous.