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Taiwan Postpones Trade Talks with China

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on October 19, 2009

The controversial proposal for a new trade deal between China and Taiwan suffered a setback on Monday with the Taiwanese government announcing it was calling off a meeting scheduled to take place this week between the two sides. The Taiwanese official who was supposed to be leading the informal talks explained today that the government of embattled President Ma Ying-jeou suddenly realized it needed to focus on matters closer to home. According to this report from AFP, Huang Chih-peng, director of Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade and the head of the island’s delegation, said “the government budget is under review in parliament, so we decided to postpone the discussions until the end of this month.”

Hard to tell yet how big of a setback this is. The explanation is certainly worth questioning, since presumably the fact that Taiwan’s lawmakers were planning on doing their duty and reviewing the budget shouldn’t have come as a that big of a surprise to the executive branch. More likely Ma’s government, severely weakened by the poor response to last month’s deadly typhoon, is trying to buy a bit of time by putting the contentious issue on the back burner for a little while. Economists disagree on what the impact of the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Beijing and Taipei. As you can imagine, there are some who talk about the creation of thousands of new jobs, and there are others who talk about giant sucking sounds.

There’s no doubt, though, the opposition party senses an opportunity to weaken Ma. The pro-independence DPP needs to change the subject away from the scandal-plagued Chen Shui-bian, the former DPP leader and ex-Taiwan president who recently was given a life sentence for corruption. (He denies any wrongdoing.) As the pro-DPP Taipei Times wrote today in an editorial, “the benefits of an ECFA are far from clear, while the negatives are obvious. It is only natural that Taiwanese workers and some entrepreneurs, especially those in the traditional manufacturing sector, would be anxious.”

With Taiwan’s unemployment rate pushing 6% (which is very high in a place that until a few years ago had more or less full employment), that’s an argument that’s sure to gain traction with voters. No wonder Ma’s government feels it needs a little more time before pushing ahead.

Reader Comments


October 19, 2009 9:10 PM

The article got the facts totally wrong. Such is the standard of journalism these days. No wonder BW is getting sold for a song. Taiwan and mainland China are getting along fine. It is something the west does not want to see happen. There lies the only reason why the author wrote this peice of s@#$! Thank you very much.

C. H. Ng

October 20, 2009 2:19 AM

You can't really blame the westerners & their medias. I think most of them can't really stomach seeing a rising China standing up to their long domination of the world. The days of the "Sick Man of Asia" (China) are long gone but the Westerners still dream of their old colonial days. They should have listened to Napoleon Bonaparte when he warned of "letting the giant lie"............!!

Taipei, Taiwan

October 20, 2009 3:13 AM

Ahahahaha wot a load of bull if you think that China and Taiwan are getting along just fine like there's no problems between them. What world do you live in? The propaganda fairy floss artificial world of despicable lies that your commie government feeds you? Do you people have a brain? Can you think for yourselves for a change?
China currently has thousands of missiles pointing at Taiwan, they make no secret that they'd like to invade and conquer Taiwan. Yet you make such ignorant and brainless comments like "Taiwan and mainland China are getting along fine."

Stop attacking the WEST like everything's their fault and have a listen to the voices of the people in Taiwan. This is a FACT: an overwhelmingly majority of people do NOT want Taiwan to be part of China - they support the status quo which in itself is a form of independence. You Chinese commies have no respect for the Taiwanese, is it a wonder why so many Taiwanese see Chinese people as backwards and ignorant?

S.H. Chan
Taipei, Taiwan


October 20, 2009 5:12 AM

to Taipei, Taiwan:as you said that "overwhelmingly majority of people do NOT want Taiwan to be part of China".so just be independent on everything,not only politice but also economy,please tell me why so many Taiwanese stay in mainland? without mainland market,Taiwan is nothing,maybe in TAIWANESE's eyse,there is no emotion,no link in culture but money?


October 20, 2009 12:44 PM

to Taipei, Taiwan:
Taiwan is still named as the "Republic of China" and not "Republic of Taiwan"?!
Why not?
--although some taiwanese wants to
separete out,but what benfit do the you people get from this..
aren't you using China although, to help better your economic.
--If your taiwanese than why do the people in taiwan still speak Chinese?!
--There's still people in taiwan who doesn't want to separate out..have you consider their choices?!


October 22, 2009 4:16 AM

I love how most mainland chinese think that Taiwan is nothing without China, let me remind you that Taiwanese companies go to china to seek usually labor,whereas China comes to Taiwan to seek brainpower....stop feeding on to te communist media for once


October 22, 2009 12:56 PM

A lot of Taiwanese thinks they are Japanese.

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