Friday, July 09, 2010

Can we trust the WTO to ‘review’ the ECFA?

During an e-mail interview with the Central News Agency (CNA) earlier this month, in which the expected benefits of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed by Taipei and Beijing were discussed, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy was quoted as referring to Taiwan not by its official designation at the trade organization, but rather as “Chinese Taipei.”

Wire searches returned the key two entries — one, the original interview in English, and the other a Chinese translation of that interview.

In the English article, titled “ECFA will help Taiwan integrate into global economy: WTO,” CNA quotes Lamy as saying: “Now, the ECFA is an important initiative in this endeavor and we think it could considerably improve cross-strait relations and can be very important for ensuring the competitiveness of domestic industries and further integrate Chinese Taipei into the world economy.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese version avoided direct mention of the national title [「現在,ECFA在這些努力中是一個重要作為,我們認為可以相當程度地改善兩岸關係,對確保國內產業競爭力及進一步納入世界經濟也是非常重要」].

I have since learned from a contact at CNA that throughout the interview, CNA reporters always referred to Taiwan as “Taiwan,” while Lamy invariably referred to it as “Chinese Taipei.” He did not even use Taiwan’s official name as a WTO member, the (admittedly tongue-twisting) Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, or a more convenient shorthand, such as Republic of China.

This op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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