DPP blasted for twisting president’s statements on ECFA

China Post, Taiwan

DPP blasted for twisting president’s statements on ECFA

5 July 2010

The China Post news staff

The Presidential Office accused the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of twisting President Ma Ying-jeou’s remarks and stressed that the president has never made the statement that lawmakers cannot review the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that Taiwan just signed with China.

Lawmakers are preparing to hold a special legislative session to review the special trade pact across the Taiwan Strait inked by top negotiators of Taiwan and China.

Ker Chien-ming, a leader of the anti-China DPP in the parliament, criticized Ma for saying that lawmakers "can only veto the pact, but cannot review" the document.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen also said that "even dogs have certain opinions" about President Ma’s views on the issue.

Lo Chih-chiang, spokesman of the Presidential Office, clarified yesterday that President Ma has never said that the ECFA cannot be reviewed.

He also said that the president holds the view that the "treaty-like" agreement can be reviewed as a whole package, but it is in appropriate to modify the pact article by article.

He urged DPP leaders not to make elaborate efforts to cheat the voters by twisting the president’s words.

It would create negative impact and controversies for the nation’s free trade agreements (FTAs) already secured or to be signed with other nations if the ECFA with China has to be modified or changed article by article, Lo added.

Premier Wu Den-yih will deliver a special report to lawmakers on the ECFA when the Legislative Yuan, which is currently in its summer recess, convenes for an extra session to review the trade pact later this week.

He is expected to give detailed explanations to the public concerning the significance and positive impact of the ECFA on Taiwan’s economy and the well-being of people on the island.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang expressed the concern that the ECFA has to be renegotiated from scratch if the pact is reviewed and revised article by article.

He said the government has already formally signed four FTAs with trade partners and none of them had gone through the procedure of being reviewed and revised article by article.

The precedent was already set in 2003 in accordance with the international practice when the FTA with Panama was forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for review.

The lawmakers exercised their rights of endorsing the FTA with Panama without revising any article, said Huang Chih-peng, chief of the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Despite threats from the DPP to escalate opposition to the pact in order to help rally support for the party’s candidates in the upcoming elections at the five special municipalities, legislators of the Kuomintang also aim to let their constituents get a correct picture concerning the trade pact, said a lawmaker of the ruling party.