China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
July 6, 2016
Executive Summary: The global economic situation is grim. Taiwan's exports have plummeted. Its economy remains troubled. The new government does nothing but complain. It does nothing to address the problem. The public remains under a dark cloud. Even a one percent growth rate is unlikely. The Liberty Times should be happy. After all, the economy is in dire straits. The new government is deadlocked on cross-Strait exchanges. Taiwan companies that "don't love Taiwan" are leaving in droves. Isn't that what the Liberty Times has wanted all these years?
Full Text Below:
The Liberty Times has long held high the banner of "Loving Taiwan". It has opposed anything and everything that links Taiwan to the Mainland. It has exaggerated the impact of cross-Strait economic cooperation on local industry. It has brainwashed the public into fearing cross-Strait exchanges. It has demonized fellow Chinese on the other side of the Strait. It has incited mob sentiment on both sides of the Strait. It has poormouthed the fruits of cross-Strait exchanges. It has made every effort possible to end all contact between the two sides. Over the past eight years, it has opposed any and every Ma government cross-Strait liberalization measure to the bitter end.
Today the paper continues to mislead the public. For example, it claims that Taiwan's economic difficulties are due to excessive reliance on the Mainland, and that excessive reliance on the Mainland was the handiwork of the Ma government. It claims that profits from cross-Strait trade have been monopolized by a small number of pro-Mainland businessmen, who have exacerbated the wealth gap and social divisions. It claims that price equalization and closer cross-Strait trade have dragged salary levels on Taiwan down to the level of the Mainland. It claims that allowing Mainlanders to own land on Taiwan will enable them to gobble up Taiwan's industries. It claims that allowing Taiwan companies to invest on the Mainland will lead to the offshoring of Taiwan technology, finance, human resources, and employment opportunities. In fact, all of the Liberty Times' wild allegations are nothing more than attempts to prevent people on Taiwan from having any connection whatsoever with their compatriots the Mainland.
Whenever the Liberty Times latches on to certain policy issues, it piles on relentlessly. For example, it attacks, smears, and defames anyone who supports the ECFA Service Trade Agreement (STA). From the beginning of talks to the signing of the agreement, the paper published a total of 4,000 articles. The paper published nearly 700 articles last year inciting fear of the “red supply chain”. The paper is a willing accomplice of the DPP. Buttressed by a massive media campaign to manipulate public opinion, the DPP successfully blocked the STA, FEPZ, and any further opening of Taiwan to Mainland industry. The impact on Taiwan's economy has been devastating.
Once the new government came to power, the paper played an even more active role. It made an even greater effort to obstruct anything that linked Taiwan to the Mainland. For example, it opposed Mainland ownership of our IC industry, even as it trumpeted the "New Southern Strategy". As everyone knows, such moves will finish off Taiwan's economy, which is already in its death throes.
Economic development, including industrial development, requires market opportunities, a competitive production capacity, and a business environment that allows companies to adopt the best business models possible. The Liberty Times however, under the new government's direction, is demanding Taiwan's withdrawal from the world's largest market and production base. It is attempting to push it into secondary markets and other high-risk areas. It is attempting to drive Taiwan away from the Mainland, where it enjoys a relatively advantageous position, to environments where it enjoys no advantages. The Liberty Times and the new government are disconnecting Taiwan from the global value chain, and undermining Taiwan's economic integration in the region. Businesses are being compelled by the new government to operate in total violation of the principles of economics. They are losing their competitiveness. They are being forced to flee or face ruin.
The Liberty Times has long misled the public into thinking that the Mainland economy is in dire straits, and that its investment environment is on the decline. Beginning in 2012, the Mainland economy went from high growth to medium high-growth. Nevertheless, as the world's second largest economy, it enjoys a relatively high growth rate. It contributes 30 to 40% of the world's economic growth. It ranks first in the world in foreign direct investment. Mainland GDP is four times that of the 10 ASEAN countries combined, and five times that of India. In 2014 the Mainland economy's incremental growth rate was 62 times that of ASEAN, and five times that of India. In other words, the immense business opportunities on the Mainland are the main reason for multinational company investment.
When Chen Shui-bian was in power, Taiwan companies invested heavily on the Mainland. Taiwan's investments on the Mainland led exports. Exports led economic growth. This was when Taiwan's economy invested heavily on the Mainland. Today, the Liberty Times has actually urged the new government to restrict cross-Strait economic and trade relations. It argues that Taiwan should turn to ASEAN, India, and other places, leaving tens of thousands of Taiwan businessmen on the Mainland stranded and without support. By doing so, it is ensuring Taiwan's economic disintegration.
Taiwan has an island-based economy. Its economic growth depends on exports. Export depend upon membership in global value chains. Regional economic integration provides a platform for integration into global value chains. It expands the size of the market economy. It enables companies to adopt the best business models, and make the most of what they have. The STA has been blocked by the Liberty Times and the DPP. FTA signings with other countries have ground to a halt. The paper is now screaming that Taiwan must join the TPP. Participation in large scale regional integration for Taiwan is now even more hopeless. In the future Taiwan will find itself shut out of global value chains.
The global economic situation is grim. Taiwan's exports have plummeted. Its economy remains troubled. The new government does nothing but complain. It does nothing to address the problem. The public remains under a dark cloud. Even a one percent growth rate is unlikely. The Liberty Times should be happy. After all, the economy is in dire straits. The new government is deadlocked on cross-Strait exchanges. Taiwan companies that "don't love Taiwan" are leaving in droves. Isn't that what the Liberty Times has wanted all these years?