Recent comments by the Philippines’ trade and industry secretary cast doubt on the feasibility of Taiwan being able to sign free-trade agreements (FTA) with other economies in the region after it signs an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.
A major pillar of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) rationale for signing the controversial trade pact has been that the ECFA would pave the way for such agreements.
“Our ‘one China’ policy stands. An FTA with Taiwan is still too early to say and … our commercial matters with Taiwan are being handled adequately through the JEC [Philippines-Taiwan Joint Economic Conference],” Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Jesli A. Lapus was quoted by the Manila Bulletin as saying on June 22.
Lapus said the JEC was working well and that the next meeting between Taiwanese and Philippine representatives — the 17th — would be held in Taiwan. The JEC was initially scheduled to be held in the first quarter, but was rescheduled to the fourth quarter to accommodate the entry of a new administration in the Philippines.
“Let the new administration call the shots” on the possibility of expanding the JEC to a full-fledged FTA between Taiwan and the Philippines, he said.
This article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.