While political parties have agreed to screen and vote on the just-signed cross-strait service trade agreement clause-by-clause, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would keep pressuring the government because more negotiations are on Taiwan’s and China’s economic agendas.
“The service trade pact is not the last follow-up agreement of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). The service in goods agreement is coming up by the end of the year and it could create a larger impact on local businesses,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
Lin said the party would work with civic groups to apply stronger pressure on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, and that DPP Chairman Su tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is scheduled to meet with mayors and commissioners of DPP-governed cities and counties for discussions of countermeasures against the pact, which has caught many sectors on the liberalization list by surprise because they had not been consulted.
Lin said the ECFA has failed to benefit Taiwan’s economy as Ma had pledged when the agreement was signed three years ago, adding that the trade pact has instead increased Taiwan’s dependence on the Chinese economy.
Su yesterday warned Taiwanese about the ramifications of the trade pact, saying Beijing was trying to assert its cultural and political influence on Taiwan, in addition to economic absorption of Taiwan.
Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), known for her expertise in trade negotiations early in her public service career, issued a second press release in as many days alerting people to what she labeled the gravity of the agreement and the government’s poor negotiating efforts.
Tsai said the Ma administration had entered the negotiations without a grand strategy and came home with a result of which the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits.
The administration has sacrificed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in exchange for limited benefits for larger corporations, she added.
Trade negotiations between Taiwan and China are very different from those between Taiwan and other foreign countries, because national security concerns would be high on the agenda, she said.
“We have seen this administration’s Achilles heel in its dealings with China. It is incompetent and untrustworthy,” Tsai said.
Meanwhile, former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said in his weekly radio talk show yesterday that the agreement was testimony to the current “imbalance” in cross-strait engagement, because the Ma administration tried to appease Beijing without any regard for the livelihoods of ordinary Taiwanese.