United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 18, 2016
Executive Summary: Premier Chang San-cheng recently told this newspaper that after more than a year of negotiations, the Merchandise Trade Agreement (MTA) has reached near perfect agreement. The negotiating team must not simply leave. It must continue negotiating. He invited the new government's transition team to review the results, and decide for itself whether anyone “sold out Taiwan”, whether Taiwan's best interests were considered, before deciding what to do next.
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Premier Chang San-cheng recently told this newspaper that after more than a year of negotiations, the Merchandise Trade Agreement (MTA) has reached near perfect agreement. The negotiating team must not simply leave. It must continue negotiating. He invited the new government's transition team to review the results, and decide for itself whether anyone “sold out Taiwan”, whether Taiwan's best interests were considered, before deciding what to do next.
Consider what Chang San-cheng said, and compare it to the latest Executive Yuan priority legislation list. The "Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Regulations" draft bill is nowhere to be seen. The Ma government has probably given up on the oversight regulations, the MTA, and the STA, and left their fate to the incoming government's "total rule".
Over the past two years, the importance of the STA and the currently negotiated MTA to Taiwan have been obscured by bickering between the ruling and opposition parties. In the wake of the Sunflower Student Movement, the public expected greater social justice and distributive justice. The Ma government failed to effectively communicate with the public. As a result, the STA and MTA were stigmatized as "black box operations", as "pandering to [Mainland] China", and as "enriching the corporations".
Fortunately, after the mid-January presidential and legislative elections, Taiwan will not hold any new elections for the next two years. Public opinion may revert to rationality and moderation. People may be able to consider just what sort of political, economic, and trade relations Taiwan needs to have with the Mainland? Will the new government reject the STA and MTA negotiated by the Ma government outright? Or will it retain it and allow it to go in force? Will it at least continue negotiations?
The DPP legislative caucus has hurriedly drafted an “Articles for Presidential Authority Handover”. The new version prevents the president from signing any international or cross-Strait treaties during the transition period. That was astonishing, considering that the election is already over. The Democratic Progressive Party is about to enjoy “total rule”. But its "Everybody cheats!” mindset remains strong. The DPP has apparently forgotten that its most urgent duty at the moment is neither oversight nor the formation of a transitional cabinet, but fulfilling its campaign promises and rebuilding the nation.
Beginning today, President-elect Tsai Ing-wen will pay visits to seven major industries. The public has pinned its hopes on the new leader. She would do well to listen to what industrialists have to say about the STA, MTA, and cross-Strait relations. She will meet tomorrow with members of the DPP transition team. She may wish to accept Premier Chang San-cheng invitation to jump in and evaluate the results of past talks, and decide whether they really are utterly worthless?
Enemies during an election are not necessarily enemies in perpetuity. Tsai Ing-wen says she wants to “unite everyone on Taiwan". If so, she should think hard about maximizing “residual value” during the transition period leading up to 5/20. After that, Beijing will inevitably "listen to what she says, and watch what she does”. The STA and MTA are ready to go. Why wait for the final mile, for Beijing to raise the political asking price? Why wait for unforeseen bumps in the road? Why not allow the transition team to scrutinize the STA and MTA and see if it contains anything that “sells out Taiwan”? If the Tsai government agrees with Chang San-cheng that the time is right, why not take advantage of the Ma government's cross-Strait framework? Washington and Beijing think it maintains the status quo. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to "backdoor list" the STA and MTA?
The Ma government was routed during the previous two elections. The main reason was that while pursuing economic growth, it failed to ensure social justice. It failed to reduce the gap between rich and poor, between capital and labor, between big business and small. Once the new government comes to power and demands changes, it too must make the pie bigger. Otherwise what will there be to divide?
During the election campaign, Tsai Ing-wen's economic policy platform called for innovation in five major industries. It did not look only at GDP figures. It also valued full employment and equitable distribution. Tsai is attempting to address the blind spots in Ma's political and economic policy. But she cannot turn a blind eye to the necessity of Taiwan-Mainland cooperation for economic survival. This is what the new government will face in the future. Tsai may wish to use the STA and MTA as touchstones, to find the optimal solution, and avoid a nightmare scenario. She must not procrastinate and hope for the best.
我方在兩岸貨貿協議討價還價上，已達「最適點」， 談判團隊要不要見好就收，還是繼續談下去， 他歡迎新政府的交接團隊先檢視目前結果，有無賣台， 是否為台灣爭取最大利益，之後再決定貨貿的下一步。
兩岸協議監督條例》草案，幾乎已可斷定，馬政府已將監督條例、 兩岸服貿協議與貨貿協議的去留選擇權，交由即將「完全執政」 的新政府來決定。
難以清楚凸顯對台灣的重要性；接著又歷經太陽花學運後， 民間對社會公平與分配正義有高度期待。在政府說不清， 一時間也沒找到有效的社會溝通方法下，服貿、貨貿就已被貼上「 黑箱」、「傾中」與「圖利財團」等汙名化標籤。
台灣都不會再有新的選舉。新民意大可回歸理性、中道， 在盈滿的正當性加持下，好好想想， 台灣到底需要和大陸發展什麼樣的政治與經貿關係？ 馬政府主政下的服貿、貨貿，到底是要直接捨棄， 還是留下來通過生效或者繼續談？
草案，新版本還增訂了「看守期間不得簽定國際條約和兩岸協議」 等條款，頗讓人詫異，大選已經結束了，民進黨即將完全執政了， 但是「防範宵小」的心態還是很濃厚。民進黨似乎忘記了， 此刻最重要的使命，不是「監督」或「看守」過渡內閣， 而是根據選前的許諾與藍圖，動手重建家園。
這位民意寄與厚望的國家新領導人，不妨好好聽聽產業界對服貿、 貨貿與對兩岸關係的想法； 而約定明天起開始接觸的政權交接小組在碰面後， 民進黨的交接小組成員，不妨接受閣揆張善政先發出的「邀請函」， 直接「入內」好好深度評鑑一下，過往談出的成果， 是不是這麼一文不值。
在新領導人蔡英文不時主張要「團結整個台灣」的思維下， 更應好好盤算，在520之前，怎麼善用過渡內閣來日不多的「 剩餘價值」。試想，北京對於520之後的新政府，免不了要一段「 聽其言、觀其行」的觀察期，服貿、貨貿此刻若能見好就收， 何必要等到北京墊高對台的政治要價後， 讓已浮現最後一哩路的服貿、貨貿，還要一路顛簸呢？ 如果交接小組詳加檢視服貿、貨貿清單後，發現的確無賣台， 也的確在張善政所稱的「最適點」後， 何妨利用馬政府所搭建且一路獲得美、中認可的兩岸架構，在「 維持現狀」下，「借殼」洽簽貨貿，通過服貿？
是未能體察在追求經濟成長的同時，也要兼顧社會公平分配， 盡力減輕貧富、勞資、與大小企業間的相對剝奪感。新政府上台後， 費力矯正的同時，也要規劃如何把經濟的餅做大， 否則不夠豐腴的小餅，哪裡夠分呢？
也提到了不能只看GDP數字，還要重視充分就業與公平分配。 偏偏這些旨在修正馬政府經濟政策盲點的看法， 都少了未來要如何與大陸經濟共生的論述。 這也是新政府在日後必然要面對的挑戰，不妨即刻以服貿、 貨貿做為試金石，嘗試找出最佳解方，以免夜長夢多、 以拖待不了變。