Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeoh urged China yesterday not to block the island from signing free-trade agreements (FTA) and similar economic pacts with other countries, the Taipei Times reported. Ma’s remarks came a day after China’s foreign ministry said Beijing "firmly objects" to Taiwan signing any official agreements with China’s diplomatic allies. Beijing’s statement has cost Ma political support at home. He had argued that signing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with Beijing would facilitate Taiwan’s ability to sign FTAs with its trade partners, including the US and Japan. However, opposition politicians now argue that Beijing has given Taiwan a "slap in the face." Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Lin Yu-chang said that "Taiwan should not rely on China as a window to the world." The DPP says that the ECFA proposal should first be subjected to a popular referendum before coming into force. Both Ma and the DPP argue that Taiwan has the right to sign FTAs as a WTO member economy. European Commission Director General of Trade Mauricio Petriccione told Taiwan that European Union members will not give the EU permission to negotiate FTAs with Taiwan "unless they have some reasonable assurance that this will not damage our economic interests in China."
You must log in to post a comment.