Globalization and Taiwan's Survival Strategy
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
April 4, 2014
Summary: The CSSTA debate must not remain mired in Blue vs. Green reunification vs. independence infighting. Any decision regarding the CSSTA must be made on the basis of a globalization-based survival strategy. If Taiwan chooses not to become an island of economic freedom, if it chooses to reject globalization, it will be marginalized both economically and politically. The loss of economic prosperity will mean the loss of political security. Yet those who oppose the CSSTA righteously trumpet their suicidal political views. The political theater surrounding the CSSTA may come across as farce, but it is in fact tragedy.
Full text below:
The debate over the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) must be understood from the perspective of Taiwan's globalization-based survival strategy. Only that allows a macro level, holistic understanding.
If Taiwan hopes to survive globalization, two things are unavoidable. One. It cannot avoid globalization. Two. It cannot avoid cross-strait links.
Globalization for Taiwan remains a challenge. If Taiwan fails to live up to this challenge, it will face a crisis. If it lives up to the challenge, it will enjoy a windfall. This is the big picture that Taiwan cannot avoid. Taiwan's globalization is related to cross-strait links. Why? Because the globalization framework is based on FTAs. Taiwan's globalization must include Mainland China. It must include, for example, ECFA. Taiwan's globalization, which includes the signing FTAs, requires trust between Taipei and Beijing. In short, Taiwan cannot achieve globalization without Mainland China's participation. This is part of the big picture that Taiwan cannot avoid.
Given the logic of globalization, Taiwan's survival strategy must be as follows. One. Sign ECFA and other agreements. This formalizes cross-strait economic and trade exchanges. It builds political goodwill and trust. Two. Having built cross-strait goodwill and trust, Taiwan must sign the TPP, RCEP and other major FTAs. Three. First improve cross-strait relations to promote Taiwan's political and economic globalization. Then use political and economic globalization to manage cross-strait relations.
If Taiwan cannot withstand the pace of globalization, it will inevitably become more economically dependent on the Mainland. It will be politically hijacked by the Mainland as well. Therefore we must use ECFA to consolidate cross-strait links. This, admittedly, is merely part of Taiwan's globalization-based survival strategy. But without this piece of the puzzle, there can be no TPP and RCEP. Taiwan will not be able to implement its globalization-based survival strategy.
In fact, Taiwan's survival may be more threatened than many are willing to admit. Even if it joins the TPP and RCEP, it may still lose in open competition. If internal bickering prevents it from joining regional alliances, its outlook will be even more pessimistic.
Therefore, when debating the CSSTA, one must consider Taiwan's globalization-based survival strategy. One must realize that Taiwan cannot avoid globalization. Taiwan cannot avoid cross-strait links. Taiwan must create a positive relationship between cross-strait links and globalization. Taiwan must avoid creating a negative relationship between cross-strait links and globalization. Internal conflict on Taiwan between the Blue camp and the Green camp over reunification and independence undermines cross-strait relations. Using cross-strait relations to implement Taiwan's globalization-based survival strategy, and creating a positive relationship between the two is difficult.
One must grasp the central concept of globalization before one can have a macro level understanding of the CSSTA. The primary theme of Taiwan's survival strategy must be globalization, with cross-strait links secondary. One must not perceive the issue primarily in terms of "fight or flight" relative to the Mainland, and only secondarily in terms of globalization. That would be a grave mistake.
One. A globalization-based survival strategy means Taiwan must become an island of economic freedom. It must join the TPP. The international reality is that if the Mainland does not join, then Taiwan cannot join. It must join the Mainland led RCEP. These must be its ultimate goals. The TPP and RCEP currently have a total of 21 members. That number will increase. In other words, Taiwan must be ready to open its markets to at least 21 regions or countries, with nearly four billion people, including the Mainland. Taiwan can not delude itself. It cannot globalize without the participation of the Mainland. If it must open itself up to 20 other regions or countries, how can it refuse to open itself up to the Mainland? Two. Beijing has its own globalization-based survival strategy considerations. It has opened its markets to Taiwan. It must also open its markets to other regions or countries. Therefore in the Mainland market, Taiwan must compete with other regions or countries. That is why Perng Huai-nan said that if the CSSTA is signed after an FTA between Mainland China and South Korea, 100 thousand workers in Taiwan's flat panel industry may face unemployment. One might say this is a matter of considerable urgency. Three. The formalization of cross-strait economic and trade relations will soften cross-strait political links, and increase cross-strait political trust. This should encourage mutually beneficial peaceful development. This should discourage the persecution of those who express their views on cross-strait policy. Four. Globalization is Taiwan's only viable survival strategy. If one realizes this, then one ought not incite anti-market opening policies. One should not incite anti-liberalization populist sentiment. The CSSTA makes only partial concessions. Yet it has deeply divided the public on Taiwan. If Taiwan joins future regional trade agreements that require even greater liberalization, consensus is unlikely. Taiwan's globalization-based survival strategy will be shattered. Taiwan will find itself at an impasse.
The CSSTA debate must not remain mired in Blue vs. Green reunification vs. independence infighting. Any decision regarding the CSSTA must be made on the basis of a globalization-based survival strategy. If Taiwan chooses not to become an island of economic freedom, if it chooses to reject globalization, it will be marginalized both economically and politically. The loss of economic prosperity will mean the loss of political security. Yet those who oppose the CSSTA righteously trumpet their suicidal political views. The political theater surrounding the CSSTA may come across as farce, but it is in fact tragedy.
2014.04.04 04:08 am