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Tsai Ing-wen: Point-by-point review of CSSTA a big concession
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-05 04:45 PM
Former DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen chastised the Ma administration for its approach to negotiating trade agreements with China and other foreign countries, pointing out that the KMT was so secretive in carrying out discussions that even Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, a key figure in the party, was unaware of what was going on. She said that in light of this lack of transparency, the DPP’s willingness to go through the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) clause by clause rather than rejecting the whole document outright was extremely generous.

"We were not allowed to input a single thing before the CSSTA was signed, we were not allowed to change a word before it was passed," complained Tsai, "What our government said and did in reaching this agreement has never been seen before in our country’s history of trade negotiations."

Tsai said that if the Legislative Yuan is to vote on the agreement, it should be allowed to monitor its development more closely. Otherwise, she said, the whole procedure guts the powers of the legislative body. In fact, she said, the entire process should have been subject to the scrutiny of the Legislative Yuan, and legislators should have had some input in the negotiations.

Tsai contrasted the government’s approach to the "speed negotiations" employed by the US in trade discussions with potential partners. She said that the Legislative Yuan should have the authority to approve discussions and should be aware of the assessments and benefits associated with agreements. The Legislative Yuan should be able to make its own independent assessments of negotiations as a part of its oversight role.

Tsai chided President Ma Ying-jeou for adopting the attitude of "humility that comes from strength,” saying it was a false humility. She said Ma was all too anxious to push forward with negotiations, showing little patience for others’ opinions and having little desire to put together a solution that will be acceptable to all parties. In fact, she said, democracy is often that very emphasis on finding solutions that are acceptable to all, rather than just one’s own opinion.

Tsai said President Ma often appears very modest, which in Oriental eyes is a very admirable trait. In a democratic society, however, the most important thing is to be able to listen to others and gauge the shifting winds of public opinion, and the only way to do that, she said, is to sit down and talk and reach a solution that everyone can accept.

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