United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 23, 2015
Executive Summary: Tsai Ing-wen says that TPP membership will be a case of "first the bitter, then the sweet”. But shouldn't Tsai Ing-wen answer peoples' questions about her TPP strategy? Otherwise her pie in the sky promises before the election, are likely to evaporate into thin air following the election. The public on Taiwan has had its fill of "first the bitter, then the sweet” promises.
Full Text Below:
Tsai Ing-wen recently pledged that if the DPP returns to power next year, her strategy will be "a nation founded on industry". If so, she faces two challenges. One. The development of new industries on Taiwan, industrial upgrading and transformation. Two. Increased participation in the global trade system and reduced dependence on a single country and a single market. Therefore joining the TPP and signing bilateral and multilateral FTAs is her next target.
Joining the TPP will undoubtedly be one of Tsai Ing-wen's most important post-election fiscal policies. It will change the nation's strategic direction. It will "reduce dependence upon a single country and a single market". In other words, one of her strategic objectives is to resist the pull of the Mainland economy and cross-Strait economic integration. In June Tsai visited the US. In October she visited Japan. More recently she underscored the prep work she has done that will enable Taiwan to join the TPP.
But based on DPP public pronouncements, we doubt Tsai Ing-wen has done the prep work necessary for Taiwan to join the TPP -- for two reasons.
Doubt Number One. How does Tsai Ing-wen plan to perform an end run around Mainland China? The Kuomintang intends to "make peace with the Mainland, then connect with the outside". Tsai Ing-wen insists she can "bypass the Mainland". She quoted a former US official who suggested that changes in cross-Strait economic and trade relations will have no direct impact on Taiwan'e membership in the TPP. But is that really true?
The 12 Member States of the TPP have completed first round negotiations. Taiwan hopes to join the second round. It must commit to economic opening to TPP member states. It must obtain the 12 Member States approval. The TPP is seen as a US Japan alliance, an “anti-China economic aircraft carrier”, whose prime directive is to “contain” Mainland China. The US and Japan may be able to ignore Mainland China and deal directly with Taiwan. But other TPP member states have close economic and trade ties with the Mainland. Last year, the largest trading partner for eight member states, including Malaysia, Australia, and Vietnam, was not the US, but Mainland China. We have no diplomatic relations with these countries. How can we possibly obtain their consent?
The DPP has blasted the Ma government. It says invoking cross-Strait relations when discussing TPP membership is "intimidation". But TPP member states have close trade and economic ties with the Mainland. The DPP thinks it can ignore Mainland China. This DPP optimism represents either sheer naivete, or a willful ostrich “head in the sand” mentality. This is true for the TPP, and also true for bilateral and multilateral FTAs.
Doubt Number Two. Will Tsai Ing-wen's TPP negotiations be subject to public oversight, and if so, how? During the Sunflower Student Movement anti-STA demonstrations, the DPP demanded the passage of "Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations". It demanded case by case review of Mainland agricultural and industrial imports, allegedly to avoid "black box operations" that might hurt vulnerable sectors. Yet the DPP's own obstructionism has stalled passage of this very same regulation indefinitely. Joining the TPP will also impact vulnerable sectors. So does Tsai intend to apply the same rigorous standards to the TPP as she did to the STA?
Tsai Ing-wen received the red carpet treatment during her visit to the US in June. She became the first presidential candidate to receive VIP treatment from the US ahead of the upcoming general election. One report claims that Tsai Ing-wen reached an understanding with the United States regarding US pork exports to Taiwan. US Deputy Trade Representative Robert Holleyman recently attended the ninth Taiwan-US Trade and Investment framework agreement (TIFA) meetings. In public and private, he said he hoped that Taiwan would honor its commitment to allow in US pork. He suggested that allowing in US pork would help Taiwan join the TPP. If Taiwan cannot even allow in US pork, how can it talk about joining the TPP?
What did Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP promise the US? That remains a closely guarded secret. The Green Camp and green oriented pressure groups stand shoulder to shoulder, blasting the Ma government relentlessly. But as soon as the issue of US pork comes up, they suddenly fall silent and avert their eyes. If Taiwan expects to join the TPP, US approval is of course essential. Can Tsai Ing-wen really obtain US support without allowing in US pork? If on the other hand, Tsai obtained US support for TPP membership by promising to allow in US pork, how is that not a “black box operation”?
Tsai financial adviser and FSC Chairman Shi Junji recently said that the DPP is “ready for either the worst or the best". The former includes allowing in US pork and other farm products. The latter hinted at interference from the Mainland. In fact, when Tsai Ing-wen raised the issue of TPP membership during her visits to the United States and Japan, she said more to them than she has to the public on Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen says she has done the prep work necessary to join the TPP. Why not apply the same standards to the STA? Why not lay her TPP strategy out under the sun, for all to see?
Tsai Ing-wen says that TPP membership will be a case of "first the bitter, then the sweet”. But shouldn't Tsai Ing-wen answer peoples' questions about her TPP strategy? Otherwise her pie in the sky promises before the election, are likely to evaporate into thin air following the election. The public on Taiwan has had its fill of "first the bitter, then the sweet” promises.
在此定位下，未來的挑戰有二：一是發展台灣的新產業， 推動產業升級轉型；二是進一步參與全球經貿體系， 並且降低對單一國家、單一市場的依賴。因此，加入TPP， 以及雙邊、多邊FTA的簽訂，將是接下來的重點工作。
不僅是蔡英文當選後最重要的財經政策之一， 更具有調整國家戰略方向的意涵：要「降低對單一國家、 單一市場的依賴」。換言之，其戰略目標之一， 是因應中國經濟磁吸效應與兩岸經濟整合趨勢。從六月訪美、 十月訪日，乃至最近的多次談話， 蔡英文都不斷強調有決心讓台灣做好加入TPP的各項準備工作。
對比國民黨「安陸連外」的TPP路徑，蔡英文的TPP路徑號稱能 「繞過大陸」，更引用美國前後任官員談話， 暗示兩岸經貿關係變化對台灣爭取加入TPP無直接影響。問題是， 這行得通嗎？
台灣要力拚加入第二輪談判，除須承諾達成TPP成員國的開放政策 外，另一關鍵是須獲得十二個成員國同意，才能取得加入TPP門票 。TPP被視為美國「聯日制中」的經濟航空母艦，美、 日兩國或許可無視中國因素與台灣洽談，然而，其他TPP成員國都 與大陸經貿往來密切；其中，馬來西亞、澳洲、 越南等八個國家去年最大的貿易夥伴不是美國，而是中國大陸。 我國與這些國家均無邦交，如何取得其同意，將是最大變數。
是一種「恐嚇」。但TPP成員國多數與中國經貿關係緊密， 民進黨認為可以無視中國大陸因素，若非過於樂觀， 就是教大家學鴕鳥。事實上，不唯TPP如此，其他雙邊、多邊FT A的簽訂，亦莫不如是。
在去年太陽花學運的反服貿風潮中，民進黨堅持通過《 兩岸協議監督條例》， 對陸方要求我方開放的農工產品清單逐條逐案審查，以免「 黑箱作業」犧牲弱勢部門。在民進黨杯葛下，此一《監督條例》 卡關至今，毫無進度。然而，加入TPP對弱勢產業也可能造成衝擊 ，請問蔡英文：加入TPP的各項開放政策， 是否也要比照兩岸服貨貿嚴格監督？
除因她在大選中保持領先美方願意拉高接待規格，另一說法則稱， 蔡英文在「開放美豬」議題上，已與美方達成一定默契。 美國副貿易代表何禮曼日前來台參加第九屆台美貿易暨投資架構協定 （TIFA）會議時， 在公開與非公開場合多次表示美方希望台灣信守開放美豬等議題的承 諾，亦暗示開放美豬是台灣參與TPP的有利條件。 若連美豬這關都過不了，要如何奢談進TPP？
過去綠營與社運團體站在同一陣線，對馬政府砲轟不絕； 現在面對美豬議題，卻偃旗息鼓，避而不談。台灣要加入TPP， 美國態度當然是關鍵，如何在不開放美豬的前提下爭取到美方支持， 蔡英文可有妙計？相對的，若為爭取美國支持而開放美豬， 難道能搞密室黑箱？
P已有「最好的準備、最壞的打算」， 前者包含對開放美豬等農工產品的策略， 後者則暗示要面對中國大陸的干擾。事實上，蔡英文訪問美、 日時談到加入TPP之事，甚至比在台灣對國人講的還多。 既然蔡英文已對加入TPP做好準備， 何不以處理兩岸服貨貿爭議同樣的標準，把台灣加入TPP的路徑與 戰略，清楚攤在陽光下？