- - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The “Taiwan struggles in China’s grip” commentary by John J. Tkacik (Web, April 1) mischaracterizes the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) currently waiting to be reviewed article by article in the Legislative Yuan.

The government is willing to engage in democratic and rational dialogue with the protesters who have been occupying the legislature since March 18.

Mr. Tkacik’s statements that “strong pro-China political forces in Taiwan seek to lock the longtime pro-American island into China’s economic sphere and sever its security relationship with the United States and democratic Asia” and that the trade agreement is “a strategic move on the way to Taiwan’s political union with its biggest economic counterpart” are pure speculation.

It is misleading to allege without concrete proof that “the U.S. State Department seems to be enjoying the spectacle.” Comparisons between Taiwan and Ukraine are baseless; Taiwan’s economy is much stronger, and its democracy significantly more robust, a source of great pride for its citizens.

The TiSA will not cost Taiwanese jobs, it will not open Taiwan to mainland Chinese workers and it will not change immigration policies with regard to the mainland Chinese. Research shows that the TiSA will in fact create up to 12,000 jobs in Taiwan and increase Taiwan’s service exports to mainland China by 37 percent. The government will not give mainland Chinese investors, company executive managers or technical specialists unlimited entry permits, nor will it permit their long-term residence.

The TiSA is part of the 2010 Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Trade liberalization is a major national priority in order for Taiwan to remain competitive in the face of increased regional economic integration. Failing to pass the TiSA will severely damage Taiwan’s credibility in the international community, making it more difficult for Taiwan to join regional trade blocs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

It is time for the protesters to leave the Legislative Yuan and let the nation’s lawmakers get back to doing the people’s work.

FRANK YEE WANG

Director, Press Division

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Washington