Taiwan Premier says no ECFA with Beijing under One China framework

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will not sign an eventual Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China if Beijing insists it should fall under a political One China structure, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said Tuesday.
“We will certainly not sign an economic accord under a One China political framework,” Liu told opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lin Shu-fen during questioning time at the Legislative Yuan.
He said no results could be achieved if talks had to take place under such a political framework.
Liu added there was no need for a nationwide referendum about the ECFA because the issue didn’t touch on politics. The premier’s statement confirmed the government stance, going against protests from the opposition that the accord will damage Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence as a nation.
The DPP has been demanding a referendum before Taiwan signs the ECFA with China, while government officials and the ruling Kuomintang say a review by the Legislative Yuan after the signing is sufficient.
Liu promised the Cabinet would spend a full month collecting opinions and present a full report to the Legislature before even starting negotiations with China. The government has insisted it has no time table for ECFA, but business leaders have said they hoped there could be an agreement before the end of the year.
Semi-official talks between Taiwan and China might discuss the issue during their next round expected to take place in China in June at the latest, but a real accord is not expected until a later round, possibly in the second half of the year.
Liu admitted ECFA might have an impact on some sectors of the economy, but he said the talks with China served to reduce any negative consequences to the smallest possible level.
The government is planning to hold seminars in North, Central and South Taiwan beginning with Taipei this coming Friday, March 13, to reveal more of its plans for the accord, said Lai Shin-yuan, the chairwoman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council.
The DPP and the smaller Taiwan Solidarity Union have said they will protest outside the events. DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said the government should say clearly what the ECFA would entail, and allow other opinions to influence the process.
The accord was “a policy with far-reaching influence on Taiwan, so the government should listen more to the public and absorb public opinion,” Tsai said.
The DPP and the TSU want to mobilize traditional economic sectors which feel the ECFA could result in the massive importation of cheap products from China. Shoemakers in the Tainan area have been vocal in doubting the benefits of a trade agreement with Beijing, fearing increased competition and rising unemployment.
The TSU said Tuesday it would invite academics and experts to point out the importance of the threats to Taiwan’s economy posed by ECFA.