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June 22, 2017

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CECA will be free lunch for big businesses paid for by workers: TSU

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-hui said Thursday that signing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with China would be like giving a "free lunch" to big businesses, while the majority of laborers would have to pay the price.

"There is no such a thing as free lunch, " Huang said.

"(President) Ma Ying-jeou should explain and clarify exactly what a CECA is and how it will affect Taiwan's industries and laborers."

Huang made the remarks at a press conference at which he raised 11 questions related to the CECA that he would like Ma to answer in his scheduled television interview Friday.

The possibility of signing a CECA with Beijing has been widely debated over the past few months, and has spurred fierce criticisms from the opposition parties, which fear that it will involve delicate political issues that will give rise to serious social conflicts in Taiwan.

Huang said that instead of scaring the public with the argument that the economic situation for Taiwan will be dire if it fails to ink a CECA with Beijing, Ma should once and for all clarify the concept, content, and consequences of signing such an agreement.

The TSU head argued that the content of the agreement should be discussed with the Legislative Yuan before being put on the negotiation table with China and should be subject to legislative review and a referendum before a deal is signed with Beijing.

"In light of China's ultimate goal to annex Taiwan -- not so much a conspiracy or anything -- a referendum is necessary, since this is a matter of the long-term survival and development of the entire Taiwanese society," Huang said.

One question Huang would like Ma to answer is that what type of industries would benefit from a CECA with China, and to what extent.

The TSU head would also like to know how much the government would have to spend to help those enterprises that would suffer as a result of the agreement.

A CECA should be signed only if China promises to resolve the numerous cases involving problems experienced by Taiwanese businesses that have investments in China, he argued.

Moreover, noting that the Ma administration keeps comparing the proposed CECA to the economic integration of the European Union and has said that it has nothing to do with political issues and sovereignty, Huang suggested that Ma follow the example of the EU and hold a referendum on the issue.

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