The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) has failed to bring promised prosperity for Taiwan and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration was irresponsible in hastily pushing through the pact, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday on the fourth anniversary of the signing of the cross-strait pact.
Dubbed by international media as a “landmark agreement” upon its signing on June 29, 2009, it was signed without an impact assessment or sector-by-sector analysis, and the negotiation process was not monitored by the legislature, DPP spokesperson Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said in a press release.
Follow-up negotiations for agreements on service trade and trade in goods have been pursued in the same way as the ECFA, which has not only further stagnated the economy, but also jeopardized the nation’s proud democracy, Hsu said.
Regarding economic gains, Taiwan has been unable to ink any free-trade agreements with China since ECFA’s signing, nor has it been able to attract more foreign direct investment, Hsu said, adding that market shares of Taiwan-made products on the early harvest list in China have been declining.
The Ma administration appears to have made several grave mistakes that have cost Taiwanese businesses dearly, in particular the omission of several strategic products on the tariff-free list, the spokesperson said.
For example, Taiwan’s failure to include flat panels on the tariff-free list had resulted in declining market shares for Taiwanese manufacturers in China, as well as an outflow of the sector’s talent to Chinese rivals.
Given that businesses hit by an opening up of markets to China have not received much help from a budget the Ma administration allocated to help them, it is difficult to believe the government’s claims of assistance should the service trade pact and the trade in goods pact take effect, Hsu said.
A simple review of the ECFA showed the importance of transparency throughout any cross-strait negotiation and why it is essential to establish an oversight mechanism for cross-strait talks before engaging in further discussions over economic integration, he added.