Premier trades trade
NOT ¡¥ECFA-TIVE¡¦? DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi said
that despite government promises, the signing of the ECFA had not led to more
trade pacts with other countries
By Chris Wang / Staff reporter
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (¦¿©y¾ì) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator
Lee Chun-yi (§õ«TÍâ) yesterday accused each other of distorting facts during a
heated debate in the legislature about the impact of the Economic Cooperation
Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the proposed service trade agreement.
During a 30-minute question-and-answer session, Lee said that President Ma Ying-jeou¡¦s
(°¨^¤E) administration had exaggerated the positive impact of the ECFA and had
misinterpreted the meaning of free trade by ¡§putting all the eggs in China¡¦s
While Ma had pledged before the ECFA was signed that it would boost the nation¡¦s
GDP, average wage and foreign investment, and that Taiwanese businesspeople
would benefit from much lower tariffs, government statistics suggested
otherwise, Lee said.
¡§Most importantly, Ma said the ECFA would pave the way for more free-trade
agreements, but so far Taiwan was only able to ink an FTA with New Zealand. The
[former] DPP administration was able to sign several FTAs without making
concessions to Beijing,¡¨ Lee said.
Ma made the same mistakes in negotiating the service trade agreement, with the
public questioning the opaqueness of the discussions and the imbalance in market
access, the lawmaker said.
China did not offer a full opening of its retail, e-commerce and banking
industries, while Taiwan has agreed to liberalize those sectors without
restrictions, he said.
Jiang said Lee and the DPP had politicized the service trade pact and tried to
make it a vote of confidence against the government, adding that the numbers the
DPP had provided were mostly incorrect.
The positive impact of the ECFA has been limited because it was a framework
agreement and follow-up deals, such as the service trade pact, have not been
implemented, the premier said.
He denied that the government has only focused on China in its pursuit of free
trade, saying ¡§there will be more FTAs to be signed.¡¨
Jiang said that trade ties with China are ¡§neither state-to-state trade
relations nor domestic trade relations... They are special relations as
stipulated in the Constitution.¡¨