Taipei, Oct. 26 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday urged the passage of an act regarding oversight of cross-Taiwan Strait pacts to facilitate Taiwan’s bid to join a global free trade block.
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should push for the swift passage of the Cross-Strait Agreement Supervisory Act through the Legislature in order to screen the long-stalled Cross-Strait Service Trade Pact, Ma said in a speech given at a forum marking the 20th anniversary of the Monte Jade Science & Technology Association of Taiwan.
Doing so will not only demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to pursue trade liberalization, but will also help clear the way for Taiwan’s bid to take part in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest free trade groups that China has also applied to join, Ma said.
“It is a crisis and also a challenge,” he contended.
If the two sides can seize the opportunity to make it possible for both to join the CPTPP, it should help rebuild mutual trust and allow both to seek political common ground to pave the way for the resumption of two-way negotiations on cross-strait trade issues, he said.
Under the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), clinched in June 2010 when Ma was president, Taiwan has been enjoying a huge trade surplus with China, he said.
Without ECFA, Taiwan would have suffered a severe trade deficit in global trade, which “we cannot accept,” he stressed.
Taiwan and China should try to resolve the remaining issues outside ECFA’s early harvest list, which was drafted during the inking of ECFA to cover trade in both goods and services, that took effect in January 2011, such as the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, the passage of which has been blocked at the Legislature since the Sunflower Movement in 2014, he said.
That could help create a win-win situation for both sides and break the stalemate across the strait over the past six years, the former president argued.