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Tsai Ing-wen blasts Blue plans for FEPZs, trade agreements
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-09 06:39 PM
DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen kicked off an enlarged meeting in advance of the upcoming special legislative session with a ringing denunciation of the Ma administration’s proposed policies for Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs). Tsai said the government’s plan is completely lacking in substance, calling it little more than a mishmash of chowder and an empty black box – impenetrable to outsiders but actually containing nothing of value.

She painted the Ma government’s FEPZ proposal as an attempt to sneak in liberalized controls that will be of benefit to only a few. "The DPP must correct this error,” said Tsai. “Taiwan's industrial development cannot afford distortions and misconceptions that will adversely affect our overall competitiveness."

Tsai pointed up three major problems in the FEPZs as proposed. First, they will not result in strategic, competitive economic demonstration zones, but rather will only offer “motley platters of chowder.” Second, the pilot zones are opaque “black boxes” that will be susceptible to smuggling and lack many basic administrative and management practices. Third, there are many inherent errors in industrial policy and planning such as uncontrolled imports of agricultural and industrial products from China that will be harmful to domestic industries, especially in the area of agricultural products.

Tsai noted that Taiwan's response to the challenges of globalization strategy should focus on promoting industrial restructuring and upgrading, working to develop core industries or strategic industries through specific plans. This calls for centralized management of talent and resources and the promotion of target industries and should not be limited to particular pilot zones. She also said that the number of pilot zones should be restricted – not scattered willy-nilly all over the landscape.

Tsai also touched on the topic of oversight regulations regarding cross-strait agreements. She criticized the Executive Yuan for attempting to implement agreements entirely on its own with little or no input from the Legislative Yuan, a tactic activist groups have ridiculed as "no oversight regulations." This approach, said Tsai, is a “black box” strategy that the people of Taiwan are simply not buying. There must be a legislative oversight mechanism that involves full implementation of the open and transparent method of "participation beforehand and supervision afterwards."

Tsai also slammed the way the review of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) has been handled. She said that even after the turmoil of the Sunflowers student movement, the government is still trying to push the service trade agreement as previously presented. It remains indifferent to the needs and wishes of the people, and only wants to promote trade agreements that will be to the benefit of the ruling party in the year-end elections. As far as the Ma administration is concerned, said Tsai, CSSTA is not a trade agreement, it is simply one more screwdriver in the KMT’s election toolbox.

Tsai dug into the nominations for the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan, saying they were rife with examples of blatant political patronage, just one Ma crony after another. Packing these two branches of the government with more KMT toadies, she said, will cause incalculable damage to the future operations of the government and even to Taiwan’s basic democratic culture. "We must have this oversight, there is simply no other choice," she warned.

Tsai concluded by saying that the battle over the administration’s plans for FEPZs will be fierce. The DPP does not have enough seats in the Legislative Yuan and it lacks many of the resources that the KMT enjoys. All the same, she added, "As long as we are determined enough and work hard enough, the people of Taiwan will not let us fight this on our own!"

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