Signing of ECFA will not compromise Taiwan's soveignty: MOEA

Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Not compromising Taiwan's sovereignty is an essential prerequisite of any economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) signed with China, Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming stressed Wednesday.
"Keeping our sovereignty intact and not allowing Taiwan to be belittled in the international community are essential preconditions for the country in signing a cross-strait ECFA, " Yiin said at the Legislative Yuan in response to a question from ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lee Ching-hua.
Lee asked Yiin when Taiwan would start engaging in talks with China over the trade pact and how the administration would "guarantee" that signing of the agreement would not lead to the downgrading of Taiwan's status.
Yiin explained that the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the agency responsible for planning the proposed ECFA, will consult with associations of the country's various manufacturing industries before determing what sectors would be opened to Chinese goods.
"Basically, we will tend to not allow Chinese blue-collar workers into Taiwan, and Taiwan's doors to agricultural products originating in China will not be opened wider if a framework agreement is reached, " Yiin reiterated.
"No timetable has been determined yet for any negotiations on this matter," he added.
The MOEA is scheduled to release a position paper this week on the plan to seek public support for the proposal, ministry officials said.
The MOEA has portrayed the proposed cross-strait agreement as a precursor to the regional trade agreement (RTA) or the free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
Nevertheless, the opposition has expressed concern that any such agreement, regardless of its name, will be similar to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement signed in 2003 between China and its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The pact would trap Taiwan in a "one-China" market, making it economically dependent on China and diminishing its sovereignty, its critics argue.
(By Deborah Kuo)