Taiwan: CECA, economic elixir or poison?

CECA? A new game console from Japan or another evil science project that is going to bring this world to an end? All wrong, but according to the Government, CECA is coming to save Taiwan's economy from drowning in global financial crisis and the greatest recession in 50 years. However, most people still have no idea what CECA is, and like all the other issues, it is quickly politicized as a new media battle ground set for the continuous fight between KMT, the ruling party, and DPP, the major opposition party.

CECA stands for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, which is all about cutting tariff and accelerating cross-strait commerce. DPP strongly opposes signing CECA with China and says that this is another big step torwards the tragic reunification with Communists China, while KMT denies the accusation and defends CECA with the reason of rescuing Taiwan's worse economic performance ever.

Bloggers again try to ask key questions and dig into the issue in their own capacity. Ashinakhan asks “What is the relation between CECA and ASEAN+3 ?”




There's a concept left unexplained by Government to the public, while the storm has already been all around on the media. The concept is: What is the relation between CECA and ASEAN+3? What the media try to implant in our brain is: If we don't sign CECA, we will be marginalized by ASEAN+3.
But what I don't get is how will Taiwan be marginalized if we don't sign, and how not to be if we sign? See the Faq from CW Magazine:

Therefore, right now the Government wants to sign CECA so that Taiwanese goods can enter China freely and then sell to the free trade zone inside countries listed in ASEAN+3 in order to share the same competitive conditions.

Round and round. So CECA does not equal to zero tariff between ASEAN+3 and us automatically, but it means that we can use the FTA between China and ASEAN to do entrepot trade. Alright, if Taiwan cannot sign FTA with ASEAN on our own(why?), and this method really works that China is willing to consecrate itself to Taiwan, why not?

Ashinakhan continues with another question:

可是,有沒有人聽過什麼叫Rule of Origin(原產地規則;RoO)?


But has anyone heard of the “Rule of Origin”?

The RoO inside ASEAN requires 40% of a product should be homemade. As far as I know, the rule is the same between China and ASEAN. So, the business opportunity of using China as a window to enter ASEAN market is never possible for Taiwan. The only way that one can benefit from this opportunity and to be competitive is to uproot the whole industry and move the supply chain to China. Is this the way to save Taiwan's economy? Is this the way to reduce Taiwan's unemployment rate? From my worrying perspective, Taiwanese businesses will move west(to China) faster and the unemployment rate will jump from 10%!

ChairmanCat writes:

近日在台灣政壇引起重大爭議的CECA, 到底要不要列入第三次江陳會的議題中,政府又不同調了。2月18日的新聞中,江丙坤說在第三次會談中不簽,但是到了2月24的新聞,高孔廉卻說CECA簽署可列入會談,顯然這個政策的推動,一方面要面對中國的壓力,另一方面反對黨又擺出不公投就反對到底的態度,顯然進退兩難了。

Should the highly controversial CECA in recent Taiwan's political forum be listed into the agenda of the third meeting between Jiang and Chen? The Government shows different attitudes. In the news on Feb 18, Jiang said that CECA will not be signed during the third meeting, but in the news on Feb 24, Gao said that CECA can be listed into agenda. Apparently the Government is selling this policy in a dilemma while facing pressure from China on one side and the fight-to-the-end-if-not-referendum attitude by the opposition party on another

And he goes on denying what some people say that CECA is a purely economic issue:


If this is a pure economic issue, then it should involves no government to government negotiation, nor the to-sign-or-not-to-sign question. But both Governments are painstakingly avoiding from political association while dealing with it politically at every spot. Why does Taiwan need to participate in ASEAN via China and China only? Is this a political affair or economic affair?

Squidy argues the ignorance of most Taiwanese people on CECA:

今天看到一份報紙說在台大學堂裡 大多數學生並不清楚CECA是啥

但問到說贊不贊成簽CECA 幾乎一半人都舉手贊成

我倒想問問這些學生 你舉手是怎樣 不清楚CECA 就只會跟著舉手嗎

I read a report on newspaper saying that most students studying in National Taiwan University have no idea what CECA is, but when they were asked about whether they favor it or not, almost half of them raised their hands supporting it.

I want to ask these students what the hell are you raising your hands for? You know nothing about it but you are in favor of it?

“NewsTalk”, the official blog of Public Television Service(PTS)'s political commentary program, discusses this topic and update many clear introduction slides(zh).

GoodMind explains the core concept of CECA and then asks who is blocking Taiwan from the beginning:


Chinese Government has such a long history defying the spirit of free trade by stalling Taiwan from signing FTA with other countries, and intercepting Taiwan from entering regional free trade organization. While the issue of CECA is getting attention from many people, we should clear up this debt.

Jack at Buycar feels puzzled:



I cannot understand why Mr. Ma always plays the game of “betting one's own future on a policy that is totally controlled by others”?

But the Old Grandpa said something to me that impressed me hard: “Taiwanese want their economy be saved right now, and who cares about the names and titles?”

ShoeiCheng reminds us President Ma's campaigns before elected:


Before elected, Ma's slogans are flourishing, such as 633, 3000 tourists from China everyday, 20,000 points in to be reached in stock market…but now, all are still slogans, not to mention that Economist says that Taiwan's economy is the ugliest in the world. The Government never say sorry, they just say it is all because of the financial tsunami. No matter how bad the Government performs, there will be “adorers of Ma” jumping out and say things like “our money are all stolen by ex-President Chen!” (OK. Even if he did steal 10 billion from the country, can this amount of money save Ma from his stupidity? ), or “Ma just took this position not a long time ago” (Dear auntie, it is almost an year, OK? A President only got four years for god's sake!). The Cabin has no rearrangement or redeployment proposal and they get nothing to fear for. This is the wonder of a complete governance, or what else you want?


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