China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 1, 2015
Executive Summary: The US Congress has just passed the Trade Promotion Authority Act (TPA), authorizing the president to negotiate and sign trade agreements with other governments. Congress must vote before the deadline. It may not modify the content of the bill. The bill will faciliate Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations. Meanwhile, two years have passed since the signing of the STA, yet it remains mired in the Legislative Yuan. No one knows when it will be approved. The legislature recently amended the Treaties Law. Future executive branch treaties with other governments, including FTAs, must be approved by the Legislative Yuan before, during and after negotiations. This is absurd. Legislative Yuan inefficiency and "scorched earth" ruling vs. opposition party struggles will keep bills pertaining to national policy in limbo indefinitely.
Full Text Below:
The US Congress has just passed the Trade Promotion Authority Act (TPA), authorizing the president to negotiate and sign trade agreements with other governments. Congress must vote before the deadline. It may not modify the content of the bill. The bill will faciliate Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations. Meanwhile, two years have passed since the signing of the STA, yet it remains mired in the Legislative Yuan. No one knows when it will be approved. The legislature recently amended the Treaties Law. Future executive branch treaties with other governments, including FTAs, must be approved by the Legislative Yuan before, during and after negotiations. This is absurd. Legislative Yuan inefficiency and "scorched earth" ruling vs. opposition party struggles will keep bills pertaining to national policy in limbo indefinitely.
The US Trade Promotion Authority Act shows that timing in foreign trade negotiations is critical. Congress knew it must allow the executive branch to seize the initiative, therefore it set politics aside. Now that the TPA has been passed, we hope the White House can complete TPP negotiations in a timely manner. We hope the Mainland sponsored AIIB can begin operation this year.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs says TPP negotiations will probably conclude within the year, The ROC government will attempt to be part of the second round of negotiations. The problem is we have no global plan or timetable. The green camp has a siege mentality. Green camp obstructionism has made even FEPZs impossible. The green camp refuses to consider even approve limited test cases. The TPP mandates a high degree of openess. Are we are ready for that? The STA remains mired in the Legislative Yuan. Anti-Mainland sentiment on Taiwan continues to build. Taiwan is eager to join the TPP and become part of the US effort to contain Mainland China. This is a slap in Beijing's face. How is Beijing supposed to react to this? Will such actions really help Taiwan join the TPP?
Mainland China and the US, the world's two largest economies, are rapidly achieving regional integration. Taiwan is economically dependent on international trade. It must participate in regional economic integration and globalization. Given Taiwan's plight, we need a viable plan and timetable. Otherwise our time and energy will be squandered. We will be immobilized. We will lose opportunities. Some say Taiwan cannot set its own timetable. Even when it signs FTAs ahead of others, it must wait for the other party to sign with Beijing. Only then will it be Taiwan's turn.
That is why Taiwan must consider the Mainland factor, and the Mainland's timetable. When signing agreements such as FTAs, the RCEP, the TPP, the MTA, and the STA, Taiwan must establish timetables that result in the least hindrance. This requires direction and strategy. This requires step by step implementation that ensures against lost opportunities. Yet we live as if time has no meaning. We sign agreements, two years elapse, and we act as if nothing is wrong. We have no idea when matters will be resolved. The chance to become part of the TPP has arrived. Yet we oppose the STA, hate the Mainland, and fear economic liberalization. Given such attitudes, how can we possibly join the TPP? Given such attitudes, any attempts to become part of the regional economy are likely to fail.
Divergent definitions of identity have set political parties at each other's throats. Peoples' sense of national identity has become blurred. The nation lacks both short and long term goals. It lacks a strategy worthy of the name. It lacks any concept of time. It has failed to do its duty. It has failed to track global currents. For example, South Korea and Australia have signed an FTA. Yet we remain oblivious to its significance. We sit on our hands and wait for the waves to hit us.
Consider another example. Beijing has established two "Century Targets". Target One. The year 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. By then, the CCP wants a "moderately prosperous" society for one billion people. Target Two. The year 2049 will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. By then, the CCP wants a prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious, modern, and totally reunified socialist nation. The Chinese Communist Party intends to reunify the nation by the PRC's 100th anniversary. Yet we remain utterly oblivious. We think nothing of it. Politicians see only short term election advantage. They care only about election outcomes. They lack any large scale vision or long term perspective. They remain indiferrent to Mainland China's rise and changes in global circumstances. This is what ails Taiwan. This is vastly more worrisome than whether Taiwan is able to join the TPP.
Some may scoff at the CCP timetable for complete4 reunification. They say the CCP is dreaming. They say the Mainland will implode long before that happens. Some say the CCP is merely trying to frighten Taiwan, that it is all talk and no action. Some say the cat is already out of the bag. They use such claims to incite anti-China hatred. Some say it is too early to tell. The future is unpredictable. One must live life one day at a time. We will cross those bridges when we get to them.
Poor mouthing the CCP and adopting an ostrich, head in the sand mentality, is not conducive to our health. Like it or not, this is the most important issue facing Taiwan. Any responses or countermeasures must be serious, rational, calm, and pragmatic. The fact is Taiwan independence is a dead end. Maintaining the status quo is also infeasible. Defending our sovereignty requires more than empty talk.
Time is not on Taiwan's side. We must take action, set goals, and reach out to the other side, in search of a win-win outcome. Only that is consistent with the interests of 23 million people on Taiwan and 1.3 billion people on the Mainland. What are we fighting for? The upcoming presidential election should give us the answer. We can no longer afford to drag out feet. This is more important than anything else.
授權總統與他國進行貿易談判並簽署協議， 國會必須在限期內包裹表決，不得修改內容，這對《 跨太平洋夥伴協定》（TPP）談判是一大助力。對照《 兩岸服務貿易協議》簽署滿兩年，至今卡在立法院， 准否表決遙遙無期，加上立法院日前修正《締約法》， 強制性規定行政部門未來與他國談判條約，包括FTA在內， 必須經立法院事前、事中與事後三階段同意，簡直全無章法， 以立法院議事效率的低落，及朝野的焦土抗爭， 可以斷言國家重大政策法案都將陷入沒有時間表狀態。
對外貿易談判時間因素的掌握非常重要， 國會必須給行政部門足夠的授權，才能掌握先機， 因而國會願意暫時拋開政黨立場，及時通過TPA法案， 希望白宮能及時完成TPP談判，與大陸主導、 今年可能展開運作的亞投行互別苗頭。
我國將把握機會爭取加入第2輪談判。問題是， 我們有沒有全球化的路徑規畫與時間座標概念？ 在綠營鎖國心態杯葛下，連自由經濟示範區都不敢開， 局部試驗都不敢接受，TPP卻是高門檻大幅度開放的協議， 我們做好準備了嗎？《兩岸服務貿易協議》已卡死在立院， 反中情緒在延燒，台灣卻又趕著要加入TPP， 走進美國圍堵中國的布局，這豈不是打臉北京，叫北京情何以堪？ 這樣搞，台灣進得了TPP嗎？
台灣經濟依賴國際貿易，必須參與區域經濟或全球化， 但以台灣的處境，必須要有一套可行的路徑規畫及時間座標， 才不會事倍功半，甚至寸步難行，錯失機遇。或許有人會抱怨， 台灣根本不可能設定自己的時間座標，對外洽簽FTA即使辛苦搶先 談成，也要苦苦等待對方和北京簽了之後，才可能輪到台灣。
台灣很多作為不能不考慮大陸因素及大陸的時間座標，對外洽簽FT A、RCEP（《區域全面經濟夥伴協定》）、TPP、《 兩岸貨貿》及通過《兩岸服貿》，時間座標次序該如何設定， 阻礙才會最小？這需要方向感和謀略，依時間表按部就班執行， 才不致錯失機遇。現在這種「山中無歲月」般過日子， 簽成的協議可以一擺兩年若無其事，且不知將伊於胡底，TPP的機 遇雖然來了，我們卻還陷在反《兩岸服貿協議》 的仇中氛圍及害怕對外開放的心態下，如此能及時抓住TPP的機會 嗎？加入區域經濟恐怕最後會多頭落空。
遠程沒方向，也就沒有謀略可言，施政更看不出短中長期的規畫， 沒有時間概念，該做的事一再蹉跎，該關注的外界動向掉以輕心。 比如中韓及中澳簽署FTA，我們無感，等衝擊排山倒海而來再說。
即中國共產黨成立100年時， 全面建成惠及十幾億人口的小康社會；二是到中華人民共和國成立1 00周年（2049年）時， 建成富強民主文明和諧的社會主義現代化國家，完成國家的統一。 對於中共要在建國百年完成統一的奮鬥目標，我們也是無感， 不當一回事，台灣社會麻木程度令人匪夷所思。 政治人物眼中只有當下的選舉，只計較選舉勝負， 卻沒有宏觀的視野及長遠的目光， 對於中國的崛起及國際形勢的變化，漠不關心，這是台灣危機所在， 比進不進得了TPP，更令人憂心。
認為中共在做白日夢，因為在此之前中國就崩潰了； 有人或許會認為這是在嚇唬台灣老百姓，說說而已，做不到的； 有人或許會批狐狸尾巴露出來了吧， 藉此搧風點火操作恐中仇中情結；也有人或許會認為來日方長， 世事難料，過一天算一天吧，船到橋頭自然直而不願面對。
這是台灣要面對的最重大課題，應該嚴肅、理性、冷靜、務實、 認真思考因應對策，現在就要未雨綢繆。事實很清楚， 台獨是一條死胡同，維持現狀顯然不可行， 捍衛主權不能只憑一句空話。
爭取和對岸達成雙贏，才符合台灣兩千三百萬人及大陸13億人的利 益。我們的奮鬥目標是什麼，這次總統大選應凝聚出答案， 不能再蹉跎，這比什麼都重要。