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ECFA not fully-fledged FTA: MAC head

2010/04/27 21:16:58

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) The proposed economic cooperationframework agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China is a "lean andnecessary" trade deal for Taiwan rather than a fully fledged freetrade agreement (FTA), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman LaiShin-yuan said Tuesday.

In an interview with a local radio station, Lai said theTaiwan-China ECFA is "special economic deal" in line with the spiritof the World Trade Organization (WTO) , of which both sides aremembers.

Lai lamented that the opposition Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) has misconstrued the ECFA as an FTA and has claimed that Taiwanwill be obliged to open its market fully to China within 10 years ofsigning.

As a matter of fact, Lai went on, the WTO has never asked anysignatories of the 272 FTAs that exist around the world to completemutual market opening within a period of 10 years, adding thatmarketing openings among some FTA partners have even been less than50 percent.

In addition, the WTO is unlikely to punish FTA partners whosemarket opening lags behind schedule, she added.

President Ma Ying-jeou's administration hopes that the ECFA canbe signed in June as a means of sharpening Taiwan's internationalcompetitiveness, but has met strong opposition from the DPP, which isconcerned that it will make Taiwan over-dependent on Chinaeconomically and result in a massive influx of Chinese farm goods andlaborers.

Lai said that in its ECFA talks with China, government willuphold the principle that there will be no all-out market openingunder the trade deal.

(By Liu Cheng-ching and Bear Lee)