President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) should be treated as a treaty undergoing legislative deliberation, and therefore should take effect after advancing to the second reading.
The ECFA, although not a treaty in nature because the Republic of China Constitution does not acknowledge China as a country, could be handled as a treaty when proceeding to the legislature for deliberation, Ma said, adding that it would not be necessary for the pact to pass a third reading in the legislature because it is neither a budget bill nor a law.
Ma also said he opposed the legislature’s deliberation of every clause in the ECFA, saying that reviewing the ECFA article by article would set a bad example.
“When we joined the WTO in 2002, the legislature discussed the general treaty, rather than reviewing every clause. You can either approve or oppose the whole treaty, but should not make changes to the clauses. It would set a very bad example; no country would want to sign economic agreements with us [after that],” Ma, in his capacity as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, said at KMT headquarters.
The KMT yesterday instructed the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and other government agencies to provide reports on the benefits of the ECFA and post-ECFA plans.
MAC Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said that the government had defended the national interest in signing the ECFA with China, pointing to the inclusion of a clause authorizing either party to terminate the pact.
However, the clause does not stipulate on what grounds a suspension may be proposed.
Ma lauded the MAC and other government bodies for their hard work in negotiating and signing the ECFA with China, while dismissing fears by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that the ECFA could bring about a “one China market.”
“We and mainland China do not have the same tariffs, and so there’s no such thing as a ‘one China market’ ... The DPP’s criticism of the time and location where the ECFA was signed is also meaningless,” he said.
In his capacity as president, Ma will hold a press conference today with local and international news agencies to announce the government’s economic strategies in the post-ECFA era.
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