Taiwan's Great ECFA Debate that Never Was and Probably Never Will Be

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Tuesday January 26, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Ma Ying-jeou has been president of Taiwan for almost two years and Taiwan's economy still flounders. Like a one-trick pony, Ma seems only capable of playing the run-to-China card, but so far his panda and tourist gambits and direct flights have done nothing. His advisors have no other pro-offered plans or proposals. So as desperation mounts for the past year he has been touting an unknown economic framework agreement (ECFA) with China. Despite previous failed experiments, this will be Taiwan's salvation. That is great but despite his claims of transparency and openness, no one still knows what Ma's ECFA will entail. Not to worry, says Ma, just give me a blank check and I will take care of everything. That of course is what a growing number of Taiwanese fear, i.e. that Ma will take care of everything so that there will be no Taiwan left.

In accord with this, another of many protests was launched on this past January 23rd to try and get some answer. In that protest numerous Taiwanese groups invited Ma, Premier Wu Den-yih, and/or Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Mao-lin to an open debate on the pros and cons of ECFA. If it is going to be the salvation of Taiwan and people are being asked to give Ma a blank check on it, the people of Taiwan deserve some explanation of what is the cost of this alleged salvation. Just what is the blank check going to buy? And what amount (what cost) is going to be put on the blank check?

Of course no one from the Ma government showed up. Like many other Ma programs, this makes people wonder, is the Ma government flying by the seat of its pants as it goes into secret discussions with China? Have secret deals been worked out beforehand, just like the recent beef import scandal with the USA? Who knows? Will people only find out the truth when it is too late? For photos of the protest, go to the left and click on the side bar listing of "Protest" and then click on that for January 23.