Monday, June 16, 2014

Connect with the Mainland: The Only Path to Globalization

Connect with the Mainland: The Only Path to Globalization
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
June 17, 2014

Summary: Connecting directly to the rest of world is of course desirable. If it could be done, why would anyone object? Alas, international political realities mean that the quickest way to connect with the rest of the world, is to connect with Mainland China first.

Full Text Below:

Tsai Ing-wen has become DPP party chairperson. She has argued yet again that "The DPP will first connect with the rest of the world. Only then will it follow the rest of world in connecting with [Mainland] China. Ma Ying-jeou is embracing [Mainland] China, and moving away from the rest of the world." President Ma Ying-jeou lashed back. He said the DPP's notion of globalization was "globalization without Mainland China." This exchange perfectly reflects the difference between KMT and DPP understanding of globalization. The DPP wants to bypass Mainland China. The KMT wants to connect with Mainland China.

In fact, this exchange took place on April 25, 2010, when Tsai Ing-wen and Ma Ying-jeou debated the cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA). Four years later, the DPP has yet again trotted out this outdated theory. But Taiwan, Mainland China, and the rest of the world have undergone massive changes. Bypassing the Mainland is irrational and impracticable. Yet the DPP refuses to budge.

During the Cold War, Taiwan's economic policy could ignore the existence of Mainland China. Now however, the Mainland is the world's second largest economy. The two sides have close trade and investment ties.

The DPP's chosen path for the 21st century has two obvious problems. The first concerns quantity. Severing Taiwan's connections to the Mainland makes it more difficult for Taiwan to connect with the rest of the world. This is why in 2010 Ma said, "The DPP's globalization is globalization without Mainland China." What he meant was the KMT's way of connecting with the rest of the world was not subject to artificial restrictions. The KMT wants to create a two-way street, from the Mainland to the rest of the world, or from the rest of the world to the Mainland. Neither is excluded, The DPP by contrast, insists on a one-way street.

The second problem concerns quality. In 2013 total imports and exports from the Mainland totalled 4.16 trillion USD. This exceeded the 3.91 trillion USD in trade with the United States. The Mainland officially became the world's largest foreign trade entity. The Mainland is also the largest trading partner of over 120 countries and regions. In one year it exports over 2 trillion USD in goods. It is the most important factory in the world. In one year it imports nearly 2 trillion USD in goods. Countries are scrambling to compete in the world market. We would like to ask the DPP a question. The Mainland is a super economic entity. When it sneezes, the rest of the world catches cold. How can Taiwan bypass it and still connect with the rest of the world?

One can evaluate the two parties' approach to connecting with the rest of the world from a logical perspective. One can also confirm through empirical means hypothetical historical scenarios. Suppose the winner of the 2008 presidential election had been the DPP's Frank Hsieh? Would the DPP's attempts to bypass the Mainland have led Taiwan closer to the rest of the world, or farther?

Ma Ying-jeou has governed for six years. During that time he "connected Taiwan with the rest of the world." This was an important achievement. One of the most representative was visa-free treatment. This enabled the public on Taiwan easy, visa-free access to the outside world. It was one of the most human mile markers. Before the ROC obtained visa-free treatment from foreign countries, applying for a visa in order to go abroad was an ordeal. Everyone knew what it was like. The procedures were complicated. The cost was high. People were often compelled to jump through hoops.

Once Ma Ying-jeou took office, he made visa-free treatment a focus of his effort to connect with the rest of the world. During his six years in office, he obtained visa-free treatment and instant visa treatment from 86 countries. The number of countries offering ROC citizens visa-free treatment increased from 54 to 140. The United States in particular was an important mile marker. The United States grants visa-free treatment to only 38 countries. The ROC is one of them. It is the only country without diplomatic relations with the US to be granted visa-free treatment. If ROC citizens want to visit other countries, 96% of them offer visa-free or instant visa treatment.

Suppose the ruling Democratic Progressive Party had assumed office in 2008? Could the number of countries that grant ROC citizens visa-free treatment have increased to 140? The answer is: impossible! When the Democratic Progressive Party assumed power in 2000, 54 countries granted ROC citizens visa-free treatment. When it handed over power to the KMT in 2008, that number was still 54. The DPP achieved nothing. It is unlikely the DPP could have done anything to change its dismal performance.

During its eight years in power, the DPP held 10 inconclusive fishing rights negotiations with Japan. Once the KMT came to power, two talks later it signed the "Taiwan-Japan Fishing Rights Agreement." One year after the signing of the agreement, catches of bluefin tuna in waters covered by the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement increased 3.6-fold. Had the Democratic Progressive Party ruled, it could have held 20 more talks yet have nothing to show for it.

Once Ma Ying-jeou took office, the ROC signed the "Taiwan New Zealand Economic Cooperation Agreement" (ANZTEC), and the "Taiwan Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement" (ASTEP). When the DPP was in office it tried to sign these agreements but failed. Before Ma Ying-jeou took office, the ROC signed four free trade agreements with five Central American countries. This accounted for less than 0.2% of our total trade volume. The second change in ruling parties restored the KMT to power. For every 100 USD in trade we received free trade agreement duty free treatment or preferential treatment. The amount increased from US$0.14 in 2008, to US$9.65 in 2013. It increased 69 fold. Suppose there had not been a change in ruling parties in 2008? Could the DPP have signed these economic cooperation agreements?

The DPP is trying. But the DPP strategy of bypassing the Mainland will not work. Unless it improves cross-Strait relations, the ROC cannot expand its international breathing space. These are clearly understood political realities. Over the past six years, little by little, the ROC has expanded its international breathing space, and made other diplomatic achievements. None of these could have been achieved through the DPP's policy of bypassing the Mainland.

Connecting directly to the rest of world is of course desirable. If it could be done, why would anyone object? Alas, international political realities mean that the quickest way to connect with the rest of the world, is to connect with Mainland China first.

社論-連結大陸 才能走向世界
2014年06月17日 04:09

蔡 英文就任民進黨主席後,再度強調「民進黨要走向世界,再跟著世界走向中國,馬英九則是擁抱中國,離世界愈來愈遠」。馬英九總統回應,民進黨的全球化是「沒 有中國大陸的全球化」。這段隔空對話最能反映國民黨與民進黨全球化布局的路徑差異,民進黨採「跳陸邏輯」,跳過中國大陸;國民黨是「連陸邏輯」,連結中國 大陸。



21 世紀民進黨的路徑選擇,顯然有兩個問題,第一是數量問題,封閉了中國大陸路徑,等於減少台灣走向世界的可能性。這也是為什麼2010年馬英九回擊「民進黨 的全球化是沒有中國大陸的全球化」,意思是,國民黨走向世界的路徑選擇是不受限的,國民黨想要建構的是雙向道,從大陸到世界或從世界到大陸皆不排除,而民 進黨想要建構的卻是單行道。

第二是質量問題,2013年大陸貨物進出口貿易總額4.16兆美元,超過美國的3.91兆元,正式成為世界第 一大對外貿易體。大陸同時是全球120多個國家和地區最大的貿易夥伴,1年出口2兆多美元的商品,是最重要的世界工廠,1年進口近2兆美元的商品,更是各 國爭相競逐的世界市場。試問民進黨,跳過這個在世界貿易舞台上「喊水會結凍」的超級經濟體,台灣如何可能走向世界?



馬 英九上任後,爭取免簽證成為「走向世界」的重點工作。6年時間,給予台灣免簽證及落地簽證的國家從54個變成140個,增加86個。其中美國尤其是重要指 標,美國只給38國免簽待遇,台灣是其中之一,而且是美國唯一非邦交國擁有免簽待遇的國家。而國人想去的國家,已有96%都是免簽證或落地簽證。



馬 英九上任後簽署的《台紐經濟合作協定》(ANZTEC)、《台星經濟夥伴協定》(ASTEP)也是民進黨執政時想簽而簽不成的經濟協議。在馬英九上任前, 我國與5個中美洲邦交國簽署了4個自由貿易協定,貿易額不到我國總貿易額的0.2%。二次政黨輪替後,我國每100美元貿易額中,可以獲得的自由貿易協定 免稅或優惠的金額,從2008年的0.14美元,到2013年增加為9.65美元,成長了約69倍。如果2008年政黨未輪替,民進黨有可能簽成這些經濟 合作協定嗎?



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