Wu 4/27/10 (Tsen-his, Staff writer for the Epoch times, “China-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Remains Unclear After TV Debate”, http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/34221/)
After a highly controversial debate between Taiwan’s president and Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Ma Ying-Jeou, and Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-Wen, many questions still remain: Will the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China be changed? Will the debate initiate more objective conversations between the two parties? The aftereffects of the debate have become the focus of attention. During a televised debate on April 25, Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-Jeou repeatedly emphasized that if the ECFA cannot protect the rights of Taiwan, he will reject the agreement. At the same time he said that he understands that the Chinese Communist Party’s ambition is to achieve a “one country, two systems peaceful unification,” but that he also believes in “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Ma said, “Of course, we understand the political motives that China has toward us. But I am confident in Taiwan’s democracy. Having economic flexibility will resolve other issues. We will seek to win despite the danger, and we will face the storm together.” Ma also said that while negotiating the ECFA with China, he also wants to sign free trade agreements (FTA) with other trade partners. He said that he intends to personally head the FTA committee and will demand that the Chinese regime not interfere.“Signing free trade agreements is the right of a WTO member. I wish to especially call on China to not interfere with our efforts to sign free trade agreements with other trade partners,” Ma said. Democratic Progressive Party leader Mrs. Tsai Ing-Wen questioned Ma whether the ECFA was too rushed. Ma refuted saying this is a race against time. They’re faced with China joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the possibility of Japan and South Korea also joining the ASEAN in the future. If the Taiwanese government doesn’t hurry up, Taiwan won’t be able to catch up. “If we don’t take this step right now, we will be out of the race,” Ma said. Tsai cited statistics from the Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research showing that the effect of China joining the ASEAN has only a 0.035 percent influence on Taiwan’s GDP. She suggested the government should not exaggerate the effect. Tsai also argued that signing the ECFA with China too early will affect the strategic balance of South East Asia. Actually, Japan and South Korea are still undecided whether or not to sign FTAs with China as they are worried that China will become the economic center of the Asia-Pacific. After Indonesia joined the ASEAN, it felt the impact of cheap products from China and is seeking to renegotiate tariff reductions on 228 items which it fears could weaken local industries after the ASEAN-China FTA that took effect on Jan. 1. The Indonesia-China FTA, which is part of the wider ASEAN-China FTA, was signed in late 2004. Ma said the government would be thinking about [the interests of] business at every step of the way and be prepared to reject the agreement. It would first negotiate under the ECFA "Early Harvest” list, and make adjustments later. However, Tsai expressed concern that if the negotiation goes on the "Early Harvest" list, Taiwan will face having to open 90 percent of the market for the next 10 years, thus it would be hard to guarantee not opening agricultural products. Tsai also pointed out that signing the ECFA will have a much greater impact than [being part of] the WTO, because the production structure of Taiwan overlaps that of China. This will be the “largest-scale production-structure adjustment, and reallocation of wealth” in the history of Taiwan. She questioned whether the government is prepared. Ma responded that he has already planned NT$95 billion (approximately US$3.02 billion) to assist disadvantaged industries and laborers and has also prepared plans for 17 possible industries that might be hurt.
The trade deal is actually worse for both countries
Jonathan Adams 7/8/10 (Jonathan Adams reports on Taiwan for GlobalPost. Adams has covered China and Taiwan since 2002. He began working for Newsweek in 2003 and has been the magazine's Taiwan correspondent since 2004, covering cross-strait relations, economics, technology and culture, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china/100702/taiwan-trade-economy-ECFA?page=0,0)
Is it a vitamin, or a poison pill? A week after China and Taiwan signed a landmark trade deal binding their economies closer, Taiwanese can't decide if they've been thrown an economic life-line or, as one paper put it, signed a political "suicide note." And that's the experts. The two sides inked the Economic Cooperation Framework agreement (ECFA), on June 29 at a ceremony in Chongqing, China. The deal lowers tariffs on a range of goods. It also provides better market access for services, including banking. All fine and good. Except this is no run-of-the-mill trade deal. Strange to say, it was signed by two countries who don't recognize each other's existence. In fact, they're technically still in a state of hostilities. China covets self-ruled Taiwan and has some 1,300 missiles piled up across from the island as a reminder it shouldn't be naughty (i.e., make a formal, permanent break with the mainland.) China's claim is long-standing. But instead of bellicose threats, Beijing has begun using the honey of economic enticements to catch the fly. ECFA's terms heavily favor Taiwan, with tariff reductions on 539 Taiwanese exports to China versus just 267 Chinese exports to Taiwan. In other words, it's a big, fat dollop of honey. Now, self-ruled Taiwan is wondering whether its fragile young democracy can long endure in the sweaty economic embrace of the hulking suitor next door. "I think we all know why China is making so many concessions," said Taiwanese economist Ma Kai at a forum. "China thinks ECFA is a very important step toward the unification of China. Everyone in Taiwan knows that." "If that is the political price that Taiwan has to pay to get ECFA, this price is too high for many Taiwanese to accept." Polls suggest amajority of Taiwanese backed the trade deal, at about a 62 percent to 37 percent ratio in May, according to survey data compiled by the Election Study Center's Yu Ching-hsin. But only 10 percent support unification with China. Even some of the deal's supporters have voiced anxiety about how Taiwan can fend off Beijing's political advances. And they worry about over-dependence. Already, some 35 percent of Taiwan's exports go to China; after the deal some say that percentage could rise to 45 percent or even 50 percent. "That ratio's too high — it's dangerous," said Hwang Jen-te, an economist at National Chengchi University. "It will endanger Taiwan's economic security; we have to consider this." The ECFA isn’t enough – public opposition and additional talks which gives them a long timeframe
JapanTimes 7/6/10 (“New era for cross-strait relations”, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20100706a1.html)
The problem is that convincing Taiwanese is difficult. While welcoming the economic boost provided by the trade deal, island residents are deeply divided over the wisdom of closer ties with the mainland. Of course, independence activists, like those in the Democratic Progressive Party (which Mr. Chen used to head) will protest the deal and accuse the government of selling out Taiwan. Tens of thousands turned out to protest the ECFA. More moderate Taiwanese worry about being swallowed by the mainland economy. Success for Beijing depends on winning over moderate Taiwanese. That means China must dampen expectations of what the ECFA can deliver and continue to exercise patience with Taiwan. It must acknowledge the aspirations of the Taiwanese people; they want more respect for their considerable political and economic achievements. Beijing should not try to block Taipei's efforts to conclude other deals with regional trade partners. Chinese red lines are well known, and no government will risk Beijing's anger by crossing them. ECFA is only a first step. Additional talks are supposed to start six months after the agreement is ratified by Taiwan's legislature. Another deal, though, is not likely anytime soon, as Taiwan enters the election season. Local elections will be held later this year, parliamentary elections are scheduled for late 2011 and presidential elections will take place in 2012. Mr. Ma wants a second term and he needs to lead his party to victory in the other ballots to increase his odds of success.
There is much more work to do for the ECFA
Xiong Qu 6/30/10 (Editor for China Central Televison, CCTV, http://english.cntv.cn/program/bizasia/20100630/102322.shtml, “MOC: Much follow-up work to do after ECFA's signing”
The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have signed the long-awaited Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA. It's a move hailed by many as a milestone in cross-Strait relations. But the Ministry of Commerce says there's still a lot of follow-up work to do. Vice commerce minister Jiang Zengwei says relevant departments on both sides will implement the pact as soon as possible. Jiang Zengwei, Vice Commerce Ministry said "The framework agreement requires negotiations for each single pact to be carried out within six months. I think both the mainland and Taiwan still have some approval work to do.