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Liberty Times: Taiwan should not repeat same mistakes

Liberty Times:  Taiwan should not repeat same mistakes

Taiwan editorial abstract (File 5 of a daily roundup) The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou is making every effort to promote a planned economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China. The administration claims that if the agreement is not signed, now that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China has been put into effect, Taiwan's products will lose competitiveness and the nation will be marginalized.
The ASEAN plus one began Jan. 1. But only a few of the 10 ASEAN members have welcomed the formation of the world's third-largest free trade block, while most have expressed concern.
This is because after the tariffs are cut to zero, China stands to benefit most as its cheap commodities will overwhelm ASEAN countries.
The industrial structures of the nations in ASEAN are similar, and the sectors in which they enjoy an edge are textiles, garments, petrochemicals, steel and electronics. These products, which are low-end and labor-intensive, are easily replaced.
As China adopts subsidies, provides incentives and manipulates its currency, if the tariffs are reduced to zero, ASEAN countries will have difficulty resisting the dumping of cheap Chinese products.
While ASEAN plus China is not a boon, then an ECFA with China is definitely a poison for Taiwan. If Taiwan signs the agreement, it will face the same dire consequences as ASEAN. Its sensitive industries will be destroyed and unemployment will soar.
Moreover, with Taiwan sharing the same language as China and having geographic prolixity, the outflow of business, talent and technology will be easier and hence Taiwan will suffer even more than ASEAN.
(By Lilian Wu)

Updated : 2021-10-19 03:25 GMT+08:00