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June 22, 2017

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DPP against signing CECA with China: Chairwoman Tsai

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday voiced her opposition to the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between Taiwan and China in the absence of social consensus.

Tsai made the remarks at a press conference following a four-hour meeting with 27 DPP lawmakers. The meeting was held to discuss the issues the DPP would zero in on during the new legislative session that will open on Feb. 20.

Tsai said that DPP lawmakers would focus interpellations on issues concerning cross-strait ties and economy.

The DPP strongly opposes the inking of the CECA between Taiwan and China in the absence of effective evaluation and social consensus. "Recklessly signing the CECA will deepen social conflict in Taiwan, and Taiwan may become overly reliant on China economically and finally become a subordinate to China," Tsai said.

The DPP head asserted that all cross-strait negotiations and relevant policy-making process should be made totally transparent, and both the Legislative Yuan and political parties must establish an effective supervisory mechanism in this regard.

Tsai continued that the government's policy of allowing mainland Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan will undermine job opportunities for white-dollar workers, and therefore the DPP would take a conservative attitude toward the policy.

Meanwhile, the DPP is also against applying financial resources to meaningless short-term development, and hopes to re-evaluate the central government expense budget for this year.

In addition, the DPP also questioned the necessity for the government to grant financial aid to the financially-troubled ProMOS Technologies Inc., a major maker of DRAM products, in case the firm's business prospects remain uncertain and if it fails to grasp key technologies as required by the government.

Lawmaker Ko Chien-ming, convener of the DPP's legislative caucus, said his caucus will discuss and determine whether to demand Premier Liu Chao-shiuan step down for poor administrative performance on Feb. 19, and will then publicize the decision.

In fact, just two days earlier, Tsai urged the government to be "more prudent" about the issue as it would affect the country's economy and politics profoundly.

Tsai continued that the government should inform and convince the public about the purpose of signing a CECA with China. If the government signs a CECA without the consensus of the people, it will have a negative impact on society, Tsai predicted.

On another front, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has been closely monitoring the formation of a regional economic bloc including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its neighboring trade partners of China, Japan and South Korea, MOEA officials said.

The officials said that Taiwan's exports would encounter tough challenges when the "ASEAN plus one"—ASEAN and China—free trade zone becomes operational in 2010.

To counter, the government has been seeking to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with Taiwan's major trading partners and has spared no efforts to work out strategies to deal with its exclusion from the regional economic bloc.

The CECA would allow the two sides to offer each other economic and trade privileges, including the lifting of tariffs on imports and non-tariff trade barriers, or to further hold existing tariff and trade policies.

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