The DPP's Head in the Sand Policy on US Beef Imports
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
May 24, 2012
Summary: In his inaugural speech, President Ma clearly designated Kaohsiung as a "Free Economy Demonstration Zone." The DPP should not oppose him. It should join him. The Kaohsiung Free Economy Demonstration Zone can become a pilot program. We can join TIFA and the TPP, We can turn Taiwan into a "Free Economic and Trade Island." If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power one day, it can then "accept responsibility in toto." Just as when the Democratic Progressive Party declared that if it returns to power it will "accept ECFA, in toto."
Full Text below:
Wu Shu-cheng once criticized Chao Chien-ming as "an eel with his head in the sand, with no idea where to run." This characterization could be applied to the DPP on the issue of US beef imports.
For the DPP, U.S. beef imports involves at least five issues. One. Food safety. Two. Impact on local industry. Three. The Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Four. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Five. The Chen regime and the credibility of the DPP in the eyes of the US.
Take food safety. Cigarettes and betel nuts are commercially available. They pose health risks. Meanwhile not a single instance of poisoning from beef containing Ractopamine has ever been recorded, anywhere in the world. Japan, Korea and other nations have agreed to allow US beef imports providing they are clearly marked as such. Take the impact on local industry. The United States has pledged to treat pork and beef separately. That means pig farmers on Taiwan will not be affected. The DPP knows this. So why does it continue to oppose US beef imports? Perhaps it thinks it can exploit the issue by inciting mob sentiment. But doing so means forfeiting all claim to being a rational decision-maker.
Washington considers beef imports a scientific issue. Washington regards the DPP's refusal to allow US beef imports as an economic and trade issue. As a result it has broken off talks on TIFA. That is because TIFA is also an economic and trade issue. If talks on TIFA fail to go forward, forget about talks on TPP. For Taiwan, TIFA is an FTA of critical, landmark significance. If talks on TIFA are successful, they will dramatically upgrade political and economic relations between Taipei and Washington. They will help Taipei negotiate other types of FTAs. More importantly, if talks on TIFA fail, we can forget about joining the US-led TPP. The importance of the TPP for Taiwan's political and economic future requires no comment.
The DPP opposes U.S. beef imports. The ultimate impact is to kill TIFA, which in turn kills the TPP. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said "FTAs are not a political issue. They are a survival issue." What the DPP is doing, is to kill TIFA, kill TPP, and thereby endangering Taiwan's survival.
The most important issue for the DPP is its credibility in the eyes of the United States. The United States has openly reminded the DPP that the Chen Shui-bian administration promised to allow US beef imports, but his successor Tsai Ing-wen reneged. Interim DPP chairman Chen Chu has made matters even worse. She depicts U.S. beef as poison that is killing the Taiwanese people. The new DPP chairman, to be chosen by the end of the month, apparently intends to fight the US to the bitter end. As a result, the DPP now has a vendetta against the United States over US beef imports.
As mentioned before, there has never been a single case of Ractopamine treated beef poisoning anywhere in the world. Beef and pork are being handled separately. Furthermore, US beef will be clearly marked as such. There is no reason to obstruct U.S. beef imports. Japan, South Korea, and a hundred other countries have adopted the same policy. Under the circumstances, opposition to US beef imports is opposition to TIFA. It is opposition to TPP. This is not a political issue, This is a survival issue.
The DPP must allow Taiwan to survive. Four years ago, the DPP opposed ECFA. It accused President Ma of "forfeiting sovereignty and demeaning the nation." and of "pandering to (Mainland) China and selling out Taiwan." But four years later, the DPP is singing a different tune. It now says it "accepts ECFA in toto." The DPP needs to realize that if it ever returns to power, it must accept TIFA, FTAs and the TPP. Without them Taiwan cannot survive. Therefore in order to ensure Taiwan's survival, the DPP must not obstruct U.S. beef imports, TIFA, and the TPP. Instead it should encourage the Ma administration to seize the moment and implement these measures ASAP. Then if the DPP ever returns to power, it can "assume responsibility in toto." Otherwise, it may miss the opportunity, If the DPP returns to power then, Taiwan may already be terminal.
The DPP cannot possibly be that short-sighted. When it was in power, it argued, "Whose skirts are we going to hide behind, if not the United States'?" Now that it is out of power, it dismisses even TIFA and TPP as sour grapes. When it is in power, it wants Taiwan to survive. When it is out of power, it no longer cares whether Taiwan lives or dies. A political party like this cannot win our allies' trust. Beijing will soon discover its Achilles Heel. The public on Taiwan will see through its lies. Such behavior is short-sighted opportunism. This is not the way a political party that intends to be around long term ought to conduct itself.
The DPP is currently out of power. It longs to return to power. It must not champion the petrochemical industry when it in power, only to seek to destroy it when it is out of power. Otherwise, if the DPP returns to power one day, Taiwan's petrochemical industry will already be devastated. U.S. beef imports have been dealt with. Food safety, Industry influence, and truth in labeling have been as well. The DPP has no reason to oppose U.S. beef imports, TIFA, and the TPP. Opposing them will have lethal consequences for Taiwan. The DPP should not rub salt in the wound. It should not lick blood from the knife. It should not think only about exploiting mob sentiment. It should consider the future of the Democratic Progressive Party. It should consider how Taiwan can survive. It should not oppose Ma, denounce Ma, and ignore Taiwan's future, Isn't Taiwan's future the DPP's future as well?
Out of concern for the nation, we would like to offer the DPP three well-intentioned warnings. One, Stop demagoguing the "one country, two regions" issue. Even Beijing accepts "Taiwan's long held basic position regarding the legal aspects of cross-strait relations." All the DPP needs to do is uphold the ROC Constitution. Why should it voluntarily shred the constitution? Two. The DPP must mend fences with the United States. It must restore mutual trust. It must not seek a vendetta against the United States. Three. Do not obstruct TIFA and the TPP. Do everything to realize them. In short, forsake blind hatred of Mainland China, opposition to the United States, liberalization, and globalization will merely destroy Taiwan. The DPP must not act like "an eel with his head in the sand, who doesn't know where to run."
The Ma administration vowed to ensure food safety, minimize the impact on local industry, and truthfully label US beef imports as such. It has fulfilled its duty. It should now turn around and ask the DPP why it is using U.S. beef imports to obstruct TIFA? It should ask the DPP whether it is willing to be answerable to the public for delaying or even killing TIFA?
In his inaugural speech, President Ma clearly designated Kaohsiung as a "Free Economy Demonstration Zone." The DPP should not oppose him. It should join him. The Kaohsiung Free Economy Demonstration Zone can become a pilot program. We can join TIFA and the TPP, We can turn Taiwan into a "Free Economic and Trade Island." If the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power one day, it can then "accept responsibility in toto." Just as when the Democratic Progressive Party declared that if it returns to power it will "accept ECFA, in toto."
2012.05.24 02:22 am