Irish said Ma’s reputation in the international community is “much better” than his national image because the cross-strait relationship has been “quiet” and “smooth” as a result of his rapprochement policy, which is welcomed by the international community.
The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010 and the subsequent cross-strait trade service trade agreement could enable Taiwan to become a platform for access to the Chinese market, Irish said.
However, Irish is concerned about the nation’s economic reliance on China, saying it is “scary” that Taiwan has so much of its economic activities based in one place, and “that place can easily turn hostile towards Taiwan.”
“The government has to be very, very careful about the globalization going toward China, because China is going to do what is in China’s self-interest, and that self-interest does not include Taiwan,” Irish said.
In its fighting against marginalization as most countries might kowtow to China’s pressure to refrain from signing trade pacts with Taiwan and to exclude Taiwan in regional trade blocs, the nation needs more than cordial relations with China, he said.
Taiwan should unilaterally liberalize its economy to attract foreign investments and to establish its readiness for multilateral trade negotiations since the world could break the impasse has stalled that the Doha Round since 2001, Irish said.
If negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement are finalized by the end of this year, it could provide impetus to reactivate the Doha Round, he said.