The Chinese Dream meets the Asian-Pacific Dream

The Chinese Dream meets the Asian-Pacific Dream
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 12, 2014

Executive Summary: The Beijing authorities have convened the APEC meeting. Mainland leader Xi Jinping was an open book. He led the push for an Asian-Pacific Free Trade Zone, for Asia-Pacific innovation development and economic reform, for strengthening links and infrastructure, and other strategic initiatives. Xi has made Mainland China the leader of Asian economic and financial development. The power center of the world will gradually shift toward Mainland China.

Full Text Below:

The Beijing authorities have convened the APEC meeting. Mainland leader Xi Jinping was an open book. He led the push for an Asian-Pacific Free Trade Zone, for Asia-Pacific innovation development and economic reform, for strengthening links and infrastructure, and other strategic initiatives. Xi has made Mainland China the leader of Asian economic and financial development. The power center of the world will gradually shift toward Mainland China.

Xi Jinping rose to power in March last year.  He promoted an “amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood” policy with neighboring countries. He proposed a new PRC-USA great power relationship. He proposed a new concept of Asian security. He evinced an international outlook different from previous Mainland Chinese leaders. He proposed an international order conducive to peaceful coexistence, shared prosperity, mutual tolerance, and sustainable development. He is apparently laying the groundwork for the Chinese Dream.

On November 29, 2012, Xi Jinping led the Politburo Standing Committee on a field trip to the National Museum “Road to Revival” exhibit. He explained for the first time his concept of the “Chinese Dream.” The goal of the Chinese Dream was the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. More recently, during the APEC CEO Summit, Xi Jinping proposed an “Asian-Pacific Dream.” He said the development of the Asian-Pacific region required decisive action on the part of each of its economies. As Xi Jinping sees it, the Asian-Pacific Dream means “shared creation, shared benefits, shared victory.” He said the
Asian-Pacific region had a shared destiny. He called upon the governments to go with the flow of peaceful development. He said this would enable the Asian-Pacific region to move toward its common goal of prosperity and progress. This was a diplomatic breakthrough for Beijing. It highlighted Mainland China’s newfound status in the global political and economic arena.

China has become the world’s second largest economy. It has gone from passive participation in the international economy, to questioning those who make up the rules. At APEC Beijing proposed an Asian infrastructure investment bank, and a Silk Road Fund. Xi proposed “one zone, one road.”  The Silk Road economic zone and the Maritime Silk Road would constitute a road map and timetable for the Asiam-Pacific free trade zone.

The strategic concept of “one zone, one road” has far-reaching implications. It includes the construction of roads, railways, pipelines, network communication facilities, the establishment of special economic zones, and an Investment Bank to promote Asian security confidence building measures. One zone, one road could shorten transport times, facilitate the transport of goods, and improve logistics. Naturally it has become the dream of many who are seeking economic prosperity. Mainland authorities saw its potential. They reaffirmed their desire for an economic platform that was open and inclusive. Such a platform would not be limited to participating countries. It would not control other countries’ economic systems. It would not change other countries’ political systems. It would evince the tolerant attitude of a responsible major power. It would maintain perimeter security and a stable external environment.

Xi Jinping’s master plan shows that the Asian-Pacific Dream and the Chinese Dream are interconnected. In early August 2013, the fifth generation CCP leadership met for the first time at Beidaihe. Its members reached certain conclusions. Xi Jinping’s concept of governance would be based on the Chinese Dream and Four Strategies, i.e., democracy, the rule of law, economics, and a strong military. Mainland China’s economic rise, official corruption, social and moral chaos, ideological distortions of personal values, political trampling of criminal justice and human rights, all contributed to a crisis in the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Without radical reform, the public would inevitably be alienated, and the party’s survival would be jeopardized. Xi Jinping is clearly aware that internal and external security are related. To rejuvenate the Chinese nation, to enable its people to live happy lives, to enjoy justice, to live a life with dignity, Xi knew he must first seek security and stability in the external environment even while accelerating internal reforms.

Xi Jinping’s “four strategies policy” for ruling the nation calls for a strong military. It recognizes that a nation that lacks diplomatic and military influence cannot win international respect. Building a strong military does not necessarily mean seeking hegemony and domination. Xi has no intention of challenging US global dominance. Xi Jinping has reiterated his “no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation and win-win” stance as the key to a new great power relationship between the PRC and the USA. Xi’s low keyed response to the international community’s questions about G2 were part of an effort to avoid upsetting his one zone, one road strategy.

During the APEC meeting, Xi Jinping was polite to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was soft and flexible in his diplomatic posture. But regarding Japan’s stance, he did not back down one iota. Xi set the agenda for APEC. The Mainland authorities’ foreign policy has gradually morphed from “low profile” to “making a difference.” Its means may be tactful, but its position is firm. Xi’s diplomacy and strategic plan combines quiet action, with firmness and flexibility. The Mainland authorities’ view of China’s core interests and leadership role in Asia’s remain unchanged.  If circumstances dictate, Mainland China will defend its core interests at any cost.

Mainland China has enjoyed material prosperity for some time now. Materialism is rampant. Official corruption is unbridled. Mainland China finds itself at a watershed. Will it advance or retreat?  Xi Jinping is confident and patient. He bears an enormous historical responsibility. The Chinese Dream can only be achieved through China’s own efforts. The Asian-Pacific Dream. on the other hand, is constrained by Sino-US relations as well as relations with neighbouring countries. It is riddled with uncertainty. But if Beijing can advance its Asian-Pacific Economic grand strategy, Mainland China will become a major force in the Asian-Pacific region.

大社論-「中國夢」與「亞太夢」的邂逅
2014年11月12日 04:10
本報訊

北京召開的亞太經合會議上,大陸領導人習近平鋒芒畢露。他主導推動的「亞太自由貿易區」、「亞太創新發展與經濟改革」、「加強連結和基礎建設」等戰略規畫,儼然將中國提升至亞洲經濟與金融發展的主導角色,未來世界權力中心將逐漸向中國移動。

習近平去年3月主政之後,對周邊國家制定「睦鄰、安鄰、富鄰」的政策、倡議建構中美新型大國關係、推動亞洲建立新安全觀,在在顯示他的國際觀不同於以往的中國領導人。重建有利於全球國家和平共存、共同繁榮、相互包容、永續發展的國際體系,似乎是實現中國夢的必要前提。

2012年11月29日,習近平帶領政治局常委參觀國家博物館展出的「復興之路」,首次闡述了「中國夢」的概念,核心就是實現中華民族偉大復興。日前習近平在亞太經合會工商領導人峰會上,首度提出「亞太夢」的構思,強調亞太地區發展前景取決於各個經濟體的果斷力和行動力。

習近平心目中的亞太夢,是以「共建、共享、共贏」,匯集出亞太地區的命運共同體意識,呼籲各國順應和平發展的時代潮流,邁向亞太繁榮與進步的共同目標。它既是北京外交上的突圍戰略,也是凸顯中國在全球政經舞台上的新地位。

中國成為全球第二大經濟體之後,已從被動參與國際經濟的角色,逐漸提升至議題設定與規則制訂者。北京在亞太經合會議倡議籌設「亞洲基礎設施投資銀行」與成立絲路基金的構想,著眼的是「一帶一路」(絲綢之路經濟帶與海上絲綢之路)的整體布局,確立亞太自由貿易區的路線圖和時間表。

「一路一帶」的戰略構想內容既廣也深,涉及興建公路、鐵路、油管、網路通訊設施、建立經濟特區、啟動投資銀行至推動亞洲安全互信措施等領域。因為「一路一帶」建設能縮短陸路及海上交通運輸時間,便利貨物運輸,提高物流水準,自然會成為眾多國家繁榮經濟的夢想。中國看準了它的發展前景,重申將建設其為開放包容的經濟平台,不限定參與國家、不控制他國經濟、也不改變他國政治制度,以負責任大國氣度和胸襟,維繫周邊安全與穩定的外部環境。

習近平的整體對外布局,呈現出「亞太夢」與實現「中國夢」的關連性。從2013年8月初中共第五代領導班首次的北戴河會議結論來看,習近平的治國理念無非立於「中國夢」與「四項策略」(民主、法治、經濟、強軍)的認知。中國經濟崛起後,官員腐敗、社會缺乏道德體系、意識形態教育錯亂人的價值觀、政治踐踏司法與蔑視人權等現象,加劇了中共的統治危機,若不徹底改革,必然人心盡失,江山不保。習近平顯然意識到安內必先攘外的道理,欲實現中華民族偉大復興,人民能過幸福、正義、有尊嚴的生活,就要先求外部環境的安全與穩定,加速內部改革。

習近平治國理念「四項策略」中主張強軍,主要基於「沒有強大外交和軍事力量的國家難獲國際尊重」的認知,建軍強軍並非為爭霸與稱霸,無意去挑戰美國的全球霸主地位。習近平多次重申「不衝突、不對抗、相互尊重、合作共贏」為核心概念的中美新型大國關係,低調回應國際社會有關G2論的說法,就是不希望影響其「一路一帶」的戰略布局。

習近平在亞太經合會議期間禮貌性會晤日本首相安倍晉三,外交上展現出柔軟靈活身段,對日立場則絲毫沒有退讓。從亞太經合會的議程設定來看,中國外交政策似乎已經從「韜光養晦」慢慢走向「有所作為」,只不過手段圓融,立場依然堅定。習式外交與戰略布局講究以靜制動,軟中帶硬,維護中國在亞洲的核心利益和主導角色的思維不變。迫於情勢,中國或會不惜代價捍衛其核心利益。

中國物質富裕已久,物慾橫流,官箴崩壞,正面臨向上提升或向下沉淪的關鍵時刻,習近平有充分的信心和耐心,承擔歷史的重任。中國夢可以靠中國人自己的努力去實現,亞太夢則受到中美關係以及中國與周邊國家關係的牽制,存有不確定性。北京若能穩妥推進所規畫的亞太經濟大戰略,中國將在亞太建立起絕對的影響力量。

Siew Xi Meeting Will Help Taiwan Turnaround

Siew Xi Meeting Will Help Taiwan Turnaround
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 11, 2014

Executive Summary: Yesterday Beijing and Seoul held a summit meeting. They announced the completion of substantive negotiations on a PRC-ROK FTA agreement, to be signed within days. The PRC-ROK FTA will have a huge impact on Taiwan’s economy. Time is not on our side. We must create a new and upgraded framework for cross-strait economic cooperation. We cannot delay, even for a minute. Taipei must immediately take action to catch up. Mainland President Xi Jinping should uphold his “The two sides of the Strait are a single family” concept. He should work with Vincent Siew to promote the new framework.

Full Text Below:

The widely anticipated Siew Xi meeting was held in Beijing on the afternoon of the 9th. Former Vice President Vincent Siew met with Mainland President Xi Jinping on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou, and set forth “three reaffirmations.” He hoped to upgrade cross-Strait economic relations. Xi Jinping offered his own mantra: “Maintain confidence, increase mutual trust, mutual respect, and positive interaction.” Cross-strait relations over the past six years have remained at low ebb. The Siew Xi meeting may be able to reestablish cross-Strait mutual trust, repair damaged cross-strait relations, restart economic restructuring, and reaffirm our desire for a new arrangement. PRC-ROK FTA negotiations have just been concluded. The Siew Xi meeting is expected to create opportunities for Taiwan’s economic rejuvenation. For this, it deserves recognition.

Consider cross-strait interaction. Cross-strait relations have recently taken numerous twists and turns. The two sides are now determined to consider the Big Picture. Vincent Siew wants to ensure peaceful development. He wants to reaffirm the “1992 consensus” as the foundation for cross-Strait interaction, formal negotiations, and cross-Strait economic cooperation. Hence, his “three reaffirmations.” These three affirmations show the Ma government’s determination to promote the path of peaceful development it has over the past six years. The “1992 consensus” institutionalized cross-Strait economic and political cooperation. The core of this policy is ECFA. Xi Jinping noted that cross-Strait relations have encountered difficulties and resistance. These were unavoidable. But they merely mean that we need increased exchanges and mutual trust, and respect for each others’ systems. He affirmed the two sides’ adherence to the “1992 consensus,” the establishment of a common political foundation for opposing Taiwan independence and enhanced mutual trust, as the key to the cross-strait relations and maintaining the peace.

The Siew and Xi exchange helped untie cross-Strait knots. It reaffirmed and consolidated the “1992 consensus.” It left both sides room for different interpretations. It enabled cross-Strait relations to remain unaffected by recent ups and downs. Meanwhile, to overcome cross-Strait economic stagnation, Vincent Siew proposed a new upgraded framework for cross-Strait economic relations. This framework is highly innovative and pragmatic, and offers concrete proposals for the solution of problems. The two sides should explore this proposed framework. They should study it, then implement it.

Current cross-strait economic cooperation is based primarily on the cross-Strait framework formulated by Ma in 2008, when the Ma government took office during the financial crisis. It was built on a foundation of cross-Strait economic complementarity and reciprocity. But in recent years, dramatic changes have taken place in the global economy. Cross-Strait economic relations have undergone structural changes. The original economic cooperation framework is inadequate for the new cross-Strait situation. This can be viewed from several angles. First of all, Mainland economic development has entered a new phase. It has gone from high-speed growth to medium-speed growth. Therefore it must change its economic growth mode. It must turn its attention to domestic demand and the equitable distribution of wealth, and away from reliance on exports. Industrial development must shift away from demand-driven and investment-driven to innovation-driven. This is Xi Jinping’s often stressed “new normal.” The Mainland economy has entered a “new normal” phase. This has changed the pattern of cross-strait trade. A complementary relationship has rapidly changed to a competitive relationship. As a result the public on Taiwan has become increasingly concerned about a potential Mainland threat to Taiwan’s economy.

Secondly, accelerating regional economic integration is rapidly rewriting the global economic map. This includes the US-led “Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement” (TPP) and the Mainland-led “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” (RCEP), and FTAAP (FTAAP) promoted at this year’s annual meeting of APEC. Taiwan cannot participate in TPP and RCEP negotiations because of political factors. It is in danger of economic marginalization. This has substantially increased the difficulty of ECFA follow-up negotiations.

Cross-Strait economic cooperation tends to favor consortia and large enterprises. Most SMEs, young people, and ordinary citizens receive few benefits. They may even become victims of market openings and distortions in the distribution of benefits. As a result, public support for cross-Strait economic cooperation is far lower than government expectations. Cross-Strait economic and trade relations should bring substantial benefits to people’s lives. Only that would qualify as a true cross-strait peace dividend. We must create a new, upgraded framework for cross-strait economic cooperation. We must expand the peace dividend, and correct the imbalance in trade and economic interests. This is a matter of the utmost urgency.

Vincent Siew noted the need direction for a tripartite, upgraded version of cross-Strait economic relations. One. We must establish a new mechanism for joint participation in regional integration. The two sides should support each other in participating in in TPP, RCEP and FTAAP. The new mechanism should inspire public confidence in cross-strait trade liberalization. Two. We must establish a new model for cross-Strait economic cooperation. We must acceleration MTA negotiations. Three. We must establish a people-centered new platform for cross-strait exchanges. We must allow SMEs, young people, and ordinary citizens to fully share the fruits of exchanges and cooperation. These three strike at the core of current cross-Strait economic issues. They reinforce each other. The two sides should form research teams consisting of government officials and scholars. They should develop specific, in depth programs. Then, through existing institutionalized consultation and cooperation mechanisms, they should promote and implement them.

Yesterday Beijing and Seoul held a summit meeting. They announced the completion of substantive negotiations on a PRC-ROK FTA agreement, to be signed within days. The PRC-ROK FTA will have a huge impact on Taiwan’s economy. Time is not on our side. We must create a new and upgraded framework for cross-strait economic cooperation. We cannot delay, even for a minute. Taipei must immediately take action to catch up. Mainland President Xi Jinping should uphold his “The two sides of the Strait are a single family” concept. He should work with Vincent Siew to promote the new framework.

社論-蕭習會為台灣經濟脫困布局
2014年11月11日 04:10
本報訊

眾所囑目的APEC「蕭習會」已於9日下午在北京舉行。前副總統蕭萬長代表馬英九總統向大陸國家主席習近平提出三個堅持不變,並期許打造升級版兩岸經濟關係新架構。習近平亦提出「堅定信心、增進互信、相互尊重、良性互動」16字箴言。在兩岸關係陷於6年來罕見低潮之際,這次「蕭習會」在政治面產生了重建兩岸互信、修補兩岸關係的正向作用;經濟面則展現出重整步伐、再造新局的企圖心,在中韓完成FTA談判之際,「蕭習會」的成果可望為台灣經濟再造創造機會,值得肯定。

從兩岸互動來看,面對近來兩岸關係的波折不斷,雙方皆展現了顧全兩岸大局的意志和決心。蕭萬長提出維護和平發展大局目標、鞏固「九二共識」作為兩岸互動協商重要基礎及推進兩岸制度化經濟合作方向等三個堅持不變,充分表達馬政府堅持繼續推動6年來和平發展路線、「九二共識」政治基礎及以ECFA為核心的兩岸制度化經濟合作政策。習近平則指出,兩岸關係遇到一些困難和阻力在所難免,愈是如此愈要交流與增進互信,並尊重彼此制度的不同;他並強調,兩岸雙方在堅持「九二共識」、反對台獨的共同政治基礎上建立並持續增進互信,是維繫兩岸和平發展關係的關鍵。

蕭習這一番對話,有助化解兩岸心結,也重新確認並鞏固了「九二共識」,並為雙方留下對內部各自表述的空間,讓繼續推進兩岸關係的基礎不受近來風風雨雨影響而有所動搖。另一方面,為突破當前兩岸經濟停滯不前的困境,蕭萬長提出打造升級版兩岸經濟關係新架構之議,可說是極富新意且務實面對問題的具體建議,雙方應進一步積極探討,並研商落實推動之道。

現行兩岸經濟合作主要是2008年馬政府上任後到兩岸共抗金融海嘯期間所形成的架構,也是建立在兩岸經濟互補互惠的基本格局上,但近年全球經濟劇烈變動,兩岸經濟關係也出現結構性變化,原有經濟合作架構已不足以因應兩岸新情勢,這可從幾個層面來分析:首先,大陸經濟發展進入全面轉型階段,從高速增長轉為中速增長,因而必須改變經濟增長方式,從依賴出口及投資轉向重視內需及所得公平分配;產業發展也從要素及投資驅動轉向創新驅動;這也是習近平近來一再強調的「新常態」。大陸經濟進入「新常態」,也改變了兩岸經貿格局,導致過去互補關係快速轉變為競爭關係,讓台灣社會愈來愈擔憂大陸經濟對台灣與日俱增的威脅。

其次,近年區域經濟加速整合正快速改寫全球經濟版圖,美國主導「跨太平洋夥伴協定」(TPP)建置及協商,大陸主導「區域全面經濟夥伴協定」(RCEP),並在今年APEC年會力推亞太自由貿易區(FTAAP)願景及路線圖,但台灣因政治因素而無法參加TPP、RCEP談判,致有陷入經濟邊緣化危機之虞,而且大幅增加ECFA後續談判阻力。

再者,兩岸經濟合作利益傾向財團及大型企業,多數中小企業、年輕人及基層民眾無法普遍感受到實質利益,甚至還成為市場開放的受害者,利益分配的扭曲,造成兩岸經濟合作的民意支持度遠低於政府期待。兩岸經貿關係應為人民生活帶來實質利益,才是兩岸當局一再強調的和平紅利。打造升級版的兩岸經濟新架構,擴大和平紅利,改善經貿利益傾斜及集中問題,實乃刻不容緩。

蕭萬長點出升級版兩岸經濟關係的三大努力方向:一是建構共同參與區域整合新機制,兩岸應相互扶持,共同參與TPP、RCEP及FTAAP,以增強民眾對兩岸經貿自由化信心;二是建構兩岸經濟合作新模式,加速貨貿談判;三是建構以人民為核心的兩岸交流新平台,讓中小企業、青年和基層民眾能夠充分參與,分享交流合作的果實。這三者切中當前兩岸經濟問題核心,且互為因果,可由雙方組成產官學共同參與的研究團隊,深入探討,擬定具體方案,再透過現有制度化協商及合作機制,加以落實推動。

昨日中韓領袖高峰會宣布中韓FTA協議完成實質談判,將於近日內完成簽署。中韓FTA對台灣經濟衝擊影響至深且鉅;時不我與,打造升級版兩岸經濟新架構不容再須臾拖延,台灣應立即付諸行動,急起直追。大陸也應該秉持習近平總書記「兩岸一家親」的理念積極評估,共同推動蕭萬長提出的新架構。

Global Integration Accelerating: Taiwan Must Respond

Global Integration Accelerating: Taiwan Must Respond
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 8, 2014

Executive Summary: 2015 is the year for regional economic reorganization. An irresistible force will hit Taiwan. Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties are fighting each other when they should be concerned about the nation’s future. Participation in internationalization is Taiwan’s only economic option. Sound cross-Strait relations are not a panacea. But without it, nothing is possible. Sound cross-Strait relations are a prerequisite for Taiwan’s participation in the international economy. Willful blindness to international power politics, globalization, and the rise of the Chinese mainland, can only lead to Taiwan’s marginalization under capitalist competition.

Full Text Below:

Former Vice President Vincent Siew is in Beijing today. He will attend the 2014 APEC meeting on behalf of President Ma. The theme of the meeting is “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership.” On the eve of the meeting, Beijing and Tokyo reached a major agreement on bilateral relations. Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe will formally meet next week. They hope to get Sino-Japanese strategic relations back on track. The Ma Xi meeting was a bust. Cross-Strait relations have been frozen since. Will Vice President Siew be able to meet with Xi Jinping to firm up cross-Strait political and economic relations? Can he ensure Taiwan’s participation in Asia-Pacific regional economic integration? These are important questions that will affect our domestic economy.

The Ma Xi meeting was a bust. President Ma Ying-jeou expressed regret during an October 31 interview with the New York Times. President Ma Ying-jeou asked former Vice President Vincent Siew to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on his behalf. This was the first time Ma formally responded to questions about the Ma Xi meeting. President Ma Ying-jeou said that the ROC government does not promote a two Chinas, one China, one Taiwan, or Taiwan independence policy. Ma Ying-jeou reaffirmed the 1992 consensus as the foundation of  the cross-Strait relationship. He hoped that the two sides could return to the 1992 consensus and one China, different interpretations foundation, then proceed from there. 

ROC participation in regional economic integration has been stalled as a result of two major problems. Trade negotiations have lagged, and Taiwan has not liberalized its financial sector. One. Trade between the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with Taiwan amounted to $ 200 billion last year. It accounted for 35% of Taiwan’s foreign trade. RCEP trade with Taiwan was as much as $ 325 billion last year. It accounted for 57% of all foreign trade. But Taiwan lags behind in the signing of free trade agreements and overall Asian regional economic integration.
Only 10% of all exports are covered by free trade agreements. As a consequence, ROC exports are rapidly losing market share.

Taiwan’s participation in these two major regional economic organizations has been delayed. The main reason for this is that Beijing objects to Taipei’s position regarding regional economic activities. The Beijing authorities have made clear to the Taipei authorities that joining regional economic organizations and signing bilateral trade agreements with other countries requires proper communication between the two sides. The Beijing authorities have drawn up a road map for negotiation. The two sides must first complete follow up ECFA negotiations. Only then can Taipei engage in TPP and RCEP negotiations with other governments. In mid-September the ninth round of STA negotiations took place. The two sides’ negotiating teams have yet to resume talks. The PRC-ROK FTA is likely to make significant progress during the upcoming APEC annual meeting. It will probably be signed before the end of the year.  The ITRI predicts
that over the next 3-5 years Taiwan’s manufacturing output will decline between 1.59 and 3.85 percentage points. The pressure is on for the two sides to sign the STA.

Two. Beijing is actively seeking to replace the USD with the RMB. Britain’s Financial Times said Beijing is attempting to lay the groundwork for a Mainland China centered financial system. The prospect of Beijing achieving such an ambitious goal seems remote. But Beijing’s strategic goal is clear. Beijing is attempting to establish a RMB regime to compete with the global USD regime established following World War II. Its effort include encouraging the use of the RMB as a reserve currency, trade settlement currency, and securities investment currency. Beijing is also drawing up global development plans and establishing new regional financial institutions. In July of this year, the China-led Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, “BRICS” organization established a new development bank and emergency reserve fund to compete with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Beijing must ensure transparency in its governance standards and mechanisms. Otherwise it cannot gain the prestige commensurate with its economic capacity.

Beijing is attempting to lead regional trade and financial integration. The ROC government has ignored the impact regional economic integration may have had on our economic security. It has not implemented effective risk management and hedging mechanisms. Worse still, the US will taper QE3. It will withdraw from international capital markets and return to the US market. The RMB will face enormous pressure to devalue. The impact on Mainland economic development next year could be serious. The Ma administration is busy campaigning. It must pay closer attention. The DPP must not think only about winning elections. It must not disregard the marginalization of Taiwan’s international economic status and cross-Strait relations. It must not be both blind and unresponsive.

2015 is the year for regional economic reorganization. An irresistible force will hit Taiwan. Taiwan’s ruling and opposition parties are fighting each other when they should be concerned about the nation’s future. Participation in internationalization is Taiwan’s only economic option. Sound cross-Strait relations are not a panacea. But without it, nothing is possible. Sound cross-Strait relations are a prerequisite for Taiwan’s participation in the international economy. Willful blindness to international power politics, globalization, and the rise of the Chinese mainland, can only lead to Taiwan’s marginalization under capitalist competition.

Ruling and opposition party leaders must choose wisely. They must prevent Taiwan’s marginalization under cross-Strait relations and the global economy. We hope Vincent Siew and Xi Jinping will bring us good news.

社論-全球加速整合 台灣怎麼辦?
2014年11月08日 04:09
本報訊

蕭萬長前副總統今天首途北京,代表馬總統參加2014年亞太經合會,這次會議主題是「共建面向未來的亞太夥伴關係」。會議前夕,中日就雙邊關係達成重大協議,習近平與安倍晉三將在下周舉行正式會晤,希望重回中日戰略互惠正軌。兩岸關係自馬習會破局後,陷入凍結狀態。蕭副總統能否利用與習主席會面機會,重新穩定兩岸政治與經貿關係,創造台灣參與亞太區域經濟整合的契機,是能否穩定國內經濟發展大勢的重要議題。

針對馬習會破局,10月31日馬英九總統接受美國《紐約時報》專訪時表示遺憾,這是馬英九總統敦請前副總統蕭萬長代表前往北京參加APEC經濟領袖會議後,首度針對馬習會做出的正式回應。馬英九總統表示,中華民國政府不會推動「兩個中國」、「一中一台」或「台灣獨立」的政策。馬英九重申「九二共識」到目前為止還是兩岸關係當中非常關鍵的基礎,希望兩岸回歸「九二共識、一中各表」的基礎上往前邁進。

我國參與區域經濟整合,正面對貿易談判滯後與金融自由化不足二大巨大板塊的陷落。首先,跨太平洋夥伴協議(TPP)和區域全面經濟夥伴關係(RCEP)與台灣貿易額一年達2000億美元,占台灣對外貿易的35%左右;而RCEP與台灣貿易額一年高達3250億美元,占對外貿易57%。但在整個亞洲簽署自由貿易協議或參與區域經濟整合上,台灣的成績嚴重滯後。目前出口產品被自由貿易協議涵蓋的量只有約10%,其後果表現在我國出口市場占有率的急速萎縮。

檢視台灣在參與此二大區域經濟組織談判滯後,主要關鍵在中國大陸對台參與區域經濟組織活動的政治立場。由於大陸對台部門明確表態,台灣爭取加入各種區域經濟整合與其他國家簽署雙邊經貿協議,需要兩岸進行適當溝通。大陸擘畫出的談判路徑圖,是兩岸須先完成ECFA後續談判,才能與其他國家展開TPP與RCEP談判。審視9月中旬第九輪兩岸貨物貿易談判後,兩岸談判團隊並未再進行會談,由於中韓FTA很可能在此次APEC年會上有重大進展,或是年底前有望簽署,工研院產經中心預估,未來3至5年台灣製造業產值將因而衰退1.59至3.85個百分點,兩岸貨貿談判的時間壓力緊迫。

第二、北京正積極建立人民幣區與美元區抗衡。英國《金融時報》發表社論指出,中國大陸正在努力為建立以中國為中心的金融體系打下基礎。雖然北京實現這項宏偉設計的目標還顯得遙遠,但中國的戰略努力是非常明確的。中國大陸試圖建立一個人民幣區,以平衡二戰以來主導世界金融體系的美元區的影響。這樣的努力涉及鼓勵人民幣當做儲備貨幣,貿易結算貨幣,以及證券投資者的選擇。此外北京正積極對照管理全球發展計畫並建立新的區域金融機構。今年7月中國主導巴西、俄羅斯、印度和南非等「金磚五國」建立新的發展銀行和緊急儲備基金,創造了相對於世界銀行和國際貨幣基金組織的新體系。對於中國大陸來說,如果不能在新機構中保持透明度和管理標準,將無法建立與自己經濟能力相符的聲望。

面對中國大陸主導的區域貿易與金融整合大趨勢,政府卻無視區域經濟整合對我國經濟安全可能造成的巨大衝擊與影響,更未提出有效的風險管控與避險機制。雪上加霜的是,美國QE3退場國際資金重返美國市場之際,人民幣將面臨貶值的巨大壓力,對我國明年經濟發展的衝擊可能更嚴重。馬團隊在打選戰之餘,應密切關注。民進黨更不能只以勝選為念,漠視台灣在國際經濟與兩岸關係權力結構中的邊陲化事實,無所認知與因應。

2015年是區域經濟板塊重組年,將以雷霆萬鈞之勢重創台灣,台灣朝野政黨在內鬥之際,是否也該關注未來國家的命運。參與國際化是台灣經濟唯一的路徑選項,所謂「兩岸不是萬能,沒有兩岸是萬萬不能」,處理好兩岸關係是台灣經濟國際參與的前提條件,任何政黨缺乏國際格局、全球視野及大陸崛起意識,均將導致台灣陷入邊陲資本主義的悲慘命運!成敗如何抉擇,是朝野政黨精英須做出的正確判斷。面對台灣在兩岸關係及全球經濟的邊緣化現象,我們期待蕭萬長與習近平的會談能為帶來正面消息。

Compromise or Dig In: Obama’s Choices

Compromise or Dig In: Obama’s Choices
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 7, 2014

Executive Summary: Obama has two years left in his term. He must cooperate with his rivals, even under adverse political circumstances. He may then be able to preserve his legacy, and help his own party’s presidential candidate win in 2016. If so, he can avoid becoming a lame duck stymied whichever way he turns.

Full Text Below: 

US President Barack Obama delivered a speech following the midterm election defeat. He said he has heard the voice of the people. He said “Obviously, Republicans had a good night. And they deserve credit for running good campaigns.” He decided to meet with congressional leaders of both parties today. The executive branch and Congress will discuss how they can work together. He said they must work together, to “try and make this town work.”

Try and make this town work. That is easier said than done. If a chief executive permits passions to determine his behaviour, if the ruling and opposition parties remain at loggerheads, if a consensus cannot be reached, no town can ever work. Take a long look at  America’s problems. For people on Taiwan, it is like looking into a mirror.

Since the 2010 midterm elections, American politics has been embroiled in endless battles. Obama feels he has a popular mandate. His successful re-election was followed by vigorous Republican opposition. He has even threatened to issue executive orders overriding congressional opposition. By contrast, in 2010 and 2012, Republicans obtained a majority in the House, forcing the White House to defer to a “new mandate.” The two parties find themselves at loggerheads over Obamacare, the immigration bill, the debt ceiling, and even the budget. The federal government is shutdown, the public blasts Washington, and the world looks on in disbelief.

During the mid-term elections, the Republicans scored another win. They achieved an unprecedented majority in the House of Representatives, the largest since World War II. They also achieved a majority in the Senate. They took both in one fell swoop. Does this mean Obama has become a lame duck? Must he now take orders from the Republican Party, and be trampled under foot? Consider the reaction from Wall Street. The three major indexes have reached new highs. That suggests that investors welcomed the result. Obama conceded defeat. He adopted a lower profile. But that does not mean he intends to give Republicans carte blanche. White House sources say that Obama feels the election results were unfair to him. Many Democratic candidates did not want his endorsement. He was denied the opportunity to show what he could do. Obama said “Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions (use the veto) that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That’s how our democracy works.”

Obama has only two years left in his term. The midterm elections were a disaster. He can choose to bow and compromise with his political opponents, and preserve his legacy. He can choose to fight to the bitter end, uphold his principles, and risk losing everything. Obama says he understands that he must “make this town work.” He will choose compromise on certain issues. On other issues however, he will fight to the bitter end, and refuse to yield.

Statesmen differ from politicians. To achieve their goals, they know when to compromise, without compromising their principles. Obama knows that he and the Republicans can promote certain policies, such as corporate taxes, trade and infrastructure bills, and in particular, the promotion of free trade.  Republicans must be be more aggressive than the Democrats. If the Republican-led Congress can pass the “Trade Promotion Authority Act” it will have a decisive influence on the Asian-Pacific TPP  and the US-Europe TTIP.

The Democrats suffered a major defeat, mainly due to the economy. The US economy has improved. But the general public, including families, are not feeling its effects. If Obama has a falling out with Congress, his achievements will come to naught. If Obama compromises with the Republicans, and ensures an economic upturn, over the next two or three years, Obamacare and minimum wage laws could pass. History could rehabilitate Obama.

Obama has spoken with House and Senate leaders since the election. Today he will meet with leaders of both parties, to discuss means of cooperation. Republican congressional leaders welcome the prospect, and expressed a willingness to cooperate. But some Republicans think they should put Obama’s feet to the fire. If the Republicans are given an inch, but take a mile, if they abuse their advantage in Congress, they might alienate the American people. The Republicans now control both houses of Congress. They must assume responsibility for governance. They cannot shirk responsibility and repeatedly promote deadlock.

Obama and the Republicans are also willing to cooperate on diplomacy. This weekend, Obama will travel to Asia to participate in three-day international summit, the APEC Leaders Meeting, the East Asia Summit, and the G20 summit. Some leaders, such as Putin from Russia, may revel in the defeat of the President. Some leaders, such as Japan’s Abe, may fear US policy change.
They may attempt to cozy up to Obama. Beijing however, is realistic about the Obama-Xi meeting. Diplomatic power belongs to the President. Both underestimating and overestimating one’s opponents is unwise.

Obama has two years left in his term. He will still have a direct impact on the 2016 presidential election. The midterm elections involve a peculiar political phenomenon. The Democrats lost. But this has inspired the party to seek the presidency in 2016, and unite under the most obvious candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Republicans won. But this has resulted in infighting over coveted posts, and the party’s “seven dwarfs” refusing to yield to each other. The GOP has no obvious front runner, creating a situation favourable for the Democratic Party.

Obama has two years left in his term. He must cooperate with his rivals, even under adverse political circumstances. He may then be able to preserve his legacy, and help his own party’s presidential candidate win in 2016. If so, he can avoid becoming a lame duck stymied whichever way he turns.

妥協或硬幹:歐巴馬未來兩年的抉擇
【聯合報╱社論】
2014.11.07 02:20 am

美國總統歐巴馬在期中選舉慘敗後現身講話,說他「聽到了民眾的聲音」,也讚揚共和黨享受了美好的一夜「是應得的」。他並決定今天和國會兩黨領袖會面,商討接下來行政部門與國會的運作模式,「大家必須一起合作,讓這個國家運轉」。

「讓國家運轉」,說起來簡單,做起來很難。如果元首意氣用事,如果朝野相持不下,如果各部門沒有共識,一個國家就無法在軌道上順利運轉。看美國的問題,台灣像看到了鏡子。

自二○一○年期中選舉後,美國政治即陷入無休止的惡鬥僵局。歐巴馬自認擁有選民託付,再加上連任成功,強勢對付共和黨的杯葛,甚至揚言以總統的行政命令排除國會的阻撓。相對的,共和黨則接連在二○一○和二○一二取得眾議院多數,因而要求白宮尊重「新民意」,兩黨就這樣槓上。從歐記健保、移民法案、舉債上限,乃至預算僵局,美國演出聯邦政府關門大戲,民眾罵聲連連,全球咸感難以置信。

這次期中選舉,共和黨再度獲勝,不僅在眾院取得自二次大戰以來空前的多數,參議院也一舉超過半數。這是否意味歐巴馬自此成為跛鴨總統,必須聽命於共和黨,任人宰割?從華爾街的反應看,三大指數同創新高,顯示投資人歡迎此一結果。但歐巴馬雖放低姿態承認失敗,卻未必會讓共和黨予取予求。白宮消息說,歐巴馬覺得選舉結果對他並不公平,很多民主黨候選人不邀他站台,讓他從頭到尾沒有機會表現。歐巴馬還說:「國會將通過一些我不能簽署的法案,我確定我會採取一些行動(動用否決權);國會有些人會不喜歡,這很自然,這就是我們的民主運作的方式。」

只剩兩年任期的歐巴馬,面對期中選舉的慘敗,可以選擇低頭和政敵妥協,以保全自己的政績;他也可以選擇不顧一切奮戰到底,維護自己的原則,卻要冒最後一事無成的風險。從目前看,歐巴馬了解「讓國家運轉」的重要,他會選擇局部妥協,但在某些議題上,他仍將奮戰到底,不會屈服。

「政治人物」與「政客」的不同就在於:為了自己的目標,要懂得妥協,卻不能失去立場和原則。歐巴馬知道,有些政策可以和共和黨一起推動,例如公司稅、貿易及基礎設施的法案。尤其自由貿易的推動,共和黨比民主黨人要積極;如果共和黨主導的國會能通過《貿易促進授權法》,這對目前亞太的TPP與美歐的TTIP將有決定性影響。

這次民主黨大敗,主因就在經濟。儘管美國經濟大勢已經好轉,但是一般民眾與家庭無感,歐巴馬若與國會鬧翻,將會前功盡棄。歐巴馬如能與共和黨妥協,推動經濟好轉,未來三兩年後,俟全民健保、基本工資政策效果顯現,歷史評價可能還歐巴馬一個公道。

歐巴馬選後分別與參眾兩院領袖通話,今天也將邀集兩黨領袖會晤,討論合作方向。對此,共和黨國會領袖表示歡迎,也願意合作,但部分共和黨人卻認為還應該給歐巴馬更多苦頭。事實上,如果共和黨得寸進尺,要在國會耍酷,未必是美國民眾所樂見;至少,共和黨已控制參眾兩院,也須對國家治理負起責任,不可能對行政癱瘓一再推卸責任。

歐巴馬和共和黨合作的意願,也顯現在外交領域。本周末,歐巴馬將前往亞太一連參加三項國際峰會:APEC領袖會議、東亞高峰會以及G20高峰會。有些領袖──如俄國的普亭,也許會更看扁這位慘敗的總統,有些領袖──如日本的安倍,生怕政策生變,會更拉攏歐巴馬;但對於「歐習會」的東道主──北京而言,則必須實事求是,外交大權屬於總統,過度低估或高估對手都是不智的。

歐巴馬未來兩年的施政,對於二○一六的總統大選,仍有很直接的影響。期中選舉後最奇特的政治現象是:民主黨輸了,反而激發起黨內二○一六年求勝的意願,會讓大家團結在目前最明顯的候選人希拉蕊之下;而共和黨贏了,黨內反而爭相覬覦大位,黨內七矮人互不相讓,若無明顯可以獲勝的候選人,情勢反而對民主黨有利。

歐巴馬的最後兩年,只要掌握好與對手合作的契機,即使在不利的政治環境下,仍有機會維持自己的政績,並協助同黨總統候選人搶下大位。那樣的話,他即不致處處碰壁,跛鴨以終。

Ma Ying-jeou: Another Obama?

Ma Ying-jeou: Another Obama?
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC) A Translation
November 6, 2014
 

Executive Summary: Many people think that the nine in one elections are merely local elections, unrelated to the central government. That is not the case. The most important factor in local government leader elections is how voters feel about individual candidates. This however, is followed by the political climate and public sentiment toward overall national policy. It is easy for voters to feel an imaginary sense of security, and to conclude that local elections have nothing to do with larger national policy. In fact, the election results will have a high degree of influence on political dynamics and public approval. They will affect the nation’s overall policy direction, including the direction of cross-Strait policy.

Full Text Below:

The Democratic Party has been thoroughly thrashed in the midterm elections in the US. The Republicans now control a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. They have also made enormous gains in the gubernatorial races, especially in Obama’s home state of Illinois. Former Democratic President Bill Clinton’s hometown also went Republican. Even the traditionally liberal Maryland Governorship went Republican for the very first time in history.

The Democratic Party debacle was no surprise. Observers were not optimistic about the Democratic Party’s prospects in the midterm elections. In an interview just before the election, even Obama acknowledged this. The Democratic Party now faces its biggest challenge in 50 years. The election  results have merely confirmed widespread predictions.

The midterm elections in the US may have taken place on other side of the Pacific. But the public on Taiwan has a sense of deja vu. They almost foretell the results of the upcoming November nine in one elections on Taiwan. Given the KMT’s dismal election prospects, the results of the midterm elections in the US should set off alarm bells for President Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT. The situation on Taiwan bears a number of remarkable similarities to the situation in the United States. Nevertheless, they are not identical. The public on Taiwan must be clear about that. They must avoid conclusions that lead to erroneous actions.

The Democratic Party defeat will impact America’s political scene on two levels. One. Political forces have ebbed and flowed. The political map has been redrawn. This will affect the 2016 US presidential election.The Democrats’ defeat in the midterm elections, leaves the Democrats in a highly disadvantageous situation for the 2016 presidential election.

This is also true on Taiwan. The nine in one election results will have a direct impact on the 2016 presidential election. If the KMT is defeated in the nine in one elections, its prospects in the 2016 presidential election will be in jeopardy. It will greatly increase the chance of a change in ruling parties. Conversely, if under such adverse circumstances, the KMT manages to hold the line, or suffers only a minor setback, the leadership of the DPP and likely DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, will find themselves under fire from within their own party. She will be asked why given such advantages, the results were so poor. Tsai Ing-wen’s current status as the unchallenged leader of the DPP will come into question, and significant changes will follow.

Two. The Democrats’ midterm election defeat was essentially a repudiation of Obama. This repudiation has two components. One. It is a repudiation of the past. Voters are dissatisfied with the policies promoted by the Democrats. They used the mid-term elections to express their dissatisfaction. Two. Obama lost both the House and the Senate. Over the next two years he will have a hard time promoting any of his policies. Republicans are in full control of both houses of Congress, and better able to block major legislation.

This observation can be applied to the year end nine in one elections on Taiwan.
Based on past experience, the KMT faces an even more perilous situation than the Democrats during the mid-term US elections. Obama’s policies provoked a powerful backlash that undermined his reputation. Yet his approval ratings held at 40%. President Ma Ying-jeou’s approval ratings may have risen slightly. But they remain stuck at the 20% level. Therefore the political climate the KMT faces on Taiwan is even less favorable than what the Democrats faced in the US. The US midterm elections were a repudiation of Obama. The repudiation of Obama’s policies turned into a repudiation of the the Democratic Party during the midterm elections. If this scenario replicates itself on Taiwan, it will influence the outcome of the elections.

The US and Taiwan differ to some extent. The US midterm elections, including the congressional elections, may determine or influence national policy. The elections on Taiwan are elections for local government leaders and representatives. Even if the Kuomintang is defeated during the nine in one elections, it will remain the majority party in the legislature. Of course, this is only a technical distinction. A major defeat in the nine in one elections would influence public opinion and exert psychological pressure on the legislature. The majority KMT has long been mocked as a “majority party of chickens.“ A defeat in the nine in one elections would make the chickens even more chicken. President Ma may retain majority party status in the legislature. But that does not mean he will fare any better than the Democratic Party in the United States Congress.

In other words, ff the KMT loses the nine in one elections, President Ma’s overall policy will be doubly repudiated. The most critical component of this overall policy is cross-Strait policy.

Many people think that the nine in one elections are merely local elections, unrelated to the central government. That is not the case. The most important factor in local government leader elections is how voters feel about individual candidates. This however, is followed by the political climate and public sentiment toward overall national policy. It is easy for voters to feel an imaginary sense of security, and to conclude that local elections have nothing to do with larger national policy. In fact, the election results will have a high degree of influence on political dynamics and public approval. They will affect the nation’s overall policy direction, including the direction of cross-Strait policy.

Therefore the ballots cast during the nine in one elections, will not be ballots cast merely for individual candidates. They will also be ballots cast for national policy over the coming years. Some voters may feel apathy. Others may feel distaste. But voters may want to think hard about the potential consequences.

社論-馬英九會變成歐巴馬嗎
2014年11月06日 04:09
本報訊

美國民主黨在期中選舉全面挫敗,共和黨不但掌握參議院與眾議院二院的多數,州長選戰也大有斬獲,尤其在歐巴馬的家鄉伊利諾州、民主黨籍前總統柯林頓的家鄉阿肯色州皆輸,連傳統自由派地盤的馬里蘭州州長席位,也首度被共和黨奪下。

民主黨的大敗並不讓人意外,外界普遍不看好民主黨在期中選舉的表現,歐巴馬投票前接受媒體訪問時也承認,民主黨面臨50年來最大困局,最後投票結果只是印證了一般的預測。

特別的是,美國的期中選舉雖然在太平洋的另一頭,看在台灣人民的眼中,卻有一種熟悉感,似乎預言了台灣11月即將舉行的九合一選舉。對馬英九總統及國民黨來說,看到美國期中選舉的結果,再看看自己低迷的選情,應該更有一番警惕與戒懼。不過,我們要指出,台灣與美國當前的政治情勢,固然有若干相似之處,但也不盡相同,國人應該慎思明辨,以避免錯誤的解讀與判斷,導致錯誤的行動與結果。

首先,民主黨的挫敗,對美國政局會帶來兩個層面的影響,其一,政治版圖的重構與政治勢力的消長將連動2016年美國總統大選,民主黨在期中選舉大敗,將讓民主黨在2016年總統選舉中,陷入極端不利的處境。

這一點台灣也是如此,九合一大選的結果將直接連動2016年總統大選的勢力消長。如果國民黨在九合一選舉大敗,則2016年的總統大選將岌岌可危,政黨再輪替的機率大增。相反的,如果在大格局不利的情況下,國民黨守了一個平手或小輸的格局,則領導民進黨、目前被視為民進黨最有可能的總統候選人蔡英文,恐將得承受內部的檢討海嘯,質疑她為何「情勢大好,結果卻不能大好?」那麼目前蔡英文幾乎被視為民進黨共主的地位還能不能繼續保有,就會出現重大變數。

其二,民主黨在期中選舉大敗,等於是否定歐巴馬推動的政策。這種否定是雙重的,一是對過去的否定,亦即選民透過期中選舉表達對民主黨推動政策的不滿意;二是,失去參眾兩院的歐巴馬,未來兩年的政策推動將雪上加霜,全面掌控國會兩院的共和黨,將更有能力封殺重大法案。

而這一點觀察也可以延展到對台灣月底九合一選舉的分析。從過去否定層面來看,國民黨的情勢比美國民主黨在期中選舉面對的處境還險惡。歐巴馬雖然政策招引反彈,聲望受挫,但民調的滿意度尚維持在4成;然而馬英九總統的民調近來雖略有回升,但也只在約兩成的水位,由此以觀,國民黨面對的台灣氛圍,比民主黨面對的美國氛圍更為低迷。在美國期中選舉出現的否定連動,即對歐巴馬政策的否定變成對民主黨期中選舉的否定,會不會在台灣被複製,將成為影響選舉結果的一個指標。

從否定的層面來看,美國和台灣的情況則略有不同。美國的期中選舉包括了可以決定或影響國家政策法案的國會選舉,台灣則是地方首長與民代的選舉,即便國民黨在九合一戰敗,國民黨仍然是國會的多數黨。當然,這只是形式上的意義。因為,一旦九合一戰敗,民意的流向會成為國會的心理壓力,國民黨過去的多數黨已經被取笑為弱雞式的多數,九合一敗選,弱雞只會更怯懦,馬總統處境不會因為還保有國會多數而比美國民主黨的處境好上多少。

換言之,國民黨一旦輸掉九合一選舉,將意謂對馬總統總體政策從過去到未來的雙重否定,這總體政策中最關鍵的就是兩岸政策。

許多人認為,九合一只是地方選舉,無關中央大政,這樣的說法並不精確,從選舉實務來說,地方首長的選舉,選民對候選人的個別喜好因素是最重要的,其次才是社會的氛圍與對國家總體政策的態度。選民確實容易產生一種「想像的安全感」,認為這只是地方選舉,與國家發展總路線無關。但實際上,選舉結果所導引的政治消長與民氣連動,在極高的程度內,將牽動未來國家總體政策,包括兩岸政策的發展方向。

也因此,月底大家領的、大家投的九合一選票,不只是對人的選票,同時將按下接下來數年國家發展方向的總按鈕。對前者,或者有人會選擇冷漠,因為都不喜歡;但對後者,選民可能要思之再三。

Foreswear Political Struggle: Increase Living Wages

Foreswear Political Struggle: Increase Living Wages
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 5, 2014

Executive Summary: Porter said that the Mainland is like a one ton gorilla sitting in one’s doorway. It gives Taiwan a terrific geographical advantage. Taiwan’s political struggles have affected cross-Strait economic cooperation. The public on Taiwan should reach a consensus. Taiwan should sign the STA and MTA as soon as possible. It must not allow politics to undermine Taiwan’s trade opportunities on the Mainland. The service industries must expand onto the Mainland. Taiwan goods must enter the Mainland tariff free. These will all raise wages on Taiwan.

Full Text Below:

Global competitiveness guru Michael E. Porter has taken Taiwan’s competitiveness pulse. He said the problem is that salaries are too low. We agree. We call on society to acknowledge the problem. The government should implement countermeasures and propose improvements.

Porter came to Taiwan to lecture on the ISC competitive model, to analyze Taiwan’s overall global competitiveness. In overall economic competitiveness Taiwan ranks 18 among 144 countries. This is an impressive showing. But Taiwan’s per capita income ranking was a mediocre 60. On cross-strait economic and trade cooperation issues, Porter argued that Taiwan’s cooperation with the Chinese mainland need not be limited to the FEPZs. It can also include purely economic cooperation. More importantly, political troubles must not be permitted to delay Taiwan’s economic growth.

Since 2000, Taiwan’s average economic growth has been 4.1%. Nominal wages have not risen for 16 years. Even taking into account inflation, this was a backwards move. But Porter also believes that Taiwan has a tremendous competitive advantage, and a well-trained workforce. To ensure a bright future for Taiwan, it must remain competitive. Taiwan’s competitiveness and labor wage growth have slowed. This means that Taiwan has not done enough to upgrade its competitiveness. It has not met international standards.

The performance of Taiwan businesses in the international arena has been outstanding. Taiwan companies are thrifty. They lead their sectors in cost savings. Even when prices are low, they can still fill orders and eke out a profit. This is a result of the OEM model. Taiwan businesses win bids by lowering prices. Or they meet international companies’ specifications through low overhead and lowball pricing. Taiwan companies quietly accept these tough conditions. The environment may become polluted. The documentary film “Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above” depicts a situation everyone is familiar with. Wages are driven down to achieve cost savings. As a result employees’ salaries remain stagnant.

Taiwan’s current industrial structure is mainly a case of “Taiwan fills the orders, but manufacturing is offshored.” Export orders in September of this year reached a record high. But the export orders to overseas production ratio also reached a record high of 56.6%. Production and investment on Taiwan has largely been offshored. Naturally this will not raise wages on Taiwan. Any capital gains accrue to the owners. As a result real wages have not increased.

Therefore Taiwan’s industries must be upgraded and restructured. Profits from OEM production alone are quite meager. Mr. Stan Shih has long been aware of this. He has advanced a “smile curve theory” that describes the two ends of a product’s life. The front end involves research and innovation. The back end involves marketing and branding. These tend to yield higher profits. Porter said wage increases on Taiwan were smaller than in neighboring countries. The average wage for labor has not risen. This means that industrial competitiveness has not improved. Business earnings must be shared with employees. That is social responsibility. Lowering wages is not profit, but exploitation. Taiwan companies should be able to make money. We should emulate Apple and Google. These top notch overseas companies offer both good products and good services.

Another problem is an oversupply of the same kind of employees on the market. Bosses will naturally be reluctant to pay high wages. How can one enhance employee ability? How can people make the most of their talents? How can a competitive staff help companies improve their performance? Taiwan’s educational system is cultivating more and more generalists. The latest national survey of seventh and eighth grader found them interested in becoming cooks, bakers, hairdressers, and other beauty industry workers. Technical and vocational education on Taiwan was once provided mostly by “black hand bosses.” Their technical skills, practical experience, and small scale open market nature, made working for them the ideal training ground for SMEs.

But the technical and vocational education system has collapsed. The era of globalization has arrived. A stronger team is required. The government should bolster technical and vocational training. It should enable upgraded technical institutes to be more effective than the vocational schools of yesteryear. SMEs must expand abroad. They will need organized data and help in product promotion. This must all be put in place, enabling businesses to make money and offer their staff dividends. Large scale enterprises and government employees should have the same salary mechanism. This will enable price comparisons, and help raise wages for all industries.

The “Taiwan takes the orders, manufacturing is offshored” model must be reversed. The government should use tax and other incentives to encourage production on Taiwan. This will create jobs on Taiwan. It will ensure that the value added stays on Taiwan. Otherwise it merely creates employment opportunities for others. Money and profits are all hidden overseas. The sharks then return home and make a killing in real estate and the stock market. This is does not help development on Taiwan.

Porter said that the Mainland is like a one ton gorilla sitting in one’s doorway. It gives Taiwan a terrific geographical advantage. Taiwan’s political struggles have affected cross-Strait economic cooperation. The public on Taiwan should reach a consensus. Taiwan should sign the STA and MTA as soon as possible. It must not allow politics to undermine Taiwan’s trade opportunities on the Mainland. The service industries must expand onto the Mainland. Taiwan goods must enter the Mainland tariff free. These will all raise wages on Taiwan.

社論-擺脫政爭 拚薪資提升
2014年11月05日 04:09
本報訊

全球競爭力大師麥可.波特(Michael E. Porter)替台灣競爭力把脈,點出問題出在薪資太低。我們贊成波特的觀點,呼籲社會應認清問題,政府應該圖謀對策,提出改進方法。

波特來台的專題演講以其ISC競爭力模型分析世界總體競爭力及排名,台灣在144個國家的總體經濟競爭力排名第18名,表現相當亮麗,但是台灣平均所得排名只有第60名,只是中段班。對於兩岸經貿合作議題,波特認為台灣與中國大陸合作的模式、不一定要侷限於自由經濟貿易區,也可以是單純的經濟合作,更重要的是,不要讓政治紛擾延緩台灣經濟成長。

從2000年後,台灣平均經濟成長率有4.1%,名目薪資卻16年不漲,甚至經過通膨平減,有倒退的狀況。波特看到了,但波特也認為台灣有很棒的產業競爭優勢,以及訓練有素的勞動力,台灣未來如果要持續亮麗表現,就得有競爭力。台灣競爭力提升、勞動薪資成長卻放緩,這代表在競爭力的提升項目上,台灣做得不夠,沒有國際水準。

台灣的企業在國際的舞台上表現出眾,是因為企業克勤克儉,在成本節約上可以領先群倫。因此明明報價不佳,仍可以接單,賺取微薄的利潤。這部分尤其是代工文化的影響,台企業不是在國際市場上能夠以相對低價取得標單,就是國際大廠開出規格,精算成本,壓低價格,台企業也默默承接。然而環境可能汙染,《看見台灣》紀錄片所描想的狀況大家都不陌生;工資也盡量壓低,進行成本節約,因此員工無法調薪。

另方面目前台灣產業結構主要是台灣接單、海外生產,今年9月外銷訂單金額創新高,但是外銷訂單海外生產比也創新高,達56.6%。原本要在台灣生產、投資,大部分移到海外,台灣民眾的薪資自然不會增加;而且產生之利潤又歸於資本擁有者,因此加大實際所得不平均的程度。

準此,台灣的產業,一定要想辦法升級轉型。只是做代工生產,能夠產生的利潤,相當微薄。施振榮先生很早就看到這個問題,提出微笑曲線理論:以產品生命的兩端,前端的研發創新跟後端的行銷品牌,往往有更高的利潤。波特認為台灣工資漲幅低過鄰近國家,而勞工平均工資不上升,就表示產業競爭力沒有提升。企業賺取的盈收必須讓員工分享,這也是社會責任。壓縮員工的薪水,不是利潤,是為剝削,但企業也要真的能夠賺得到錢。我們要學學蘋果、谷歌,這些外國的頂尖企業,真的有好的產品、好的服務。

另外,現實的問題是市場上同質員工供過於求,老闆用人自然給不出高薪。如何提升員工的能力,人能盡其才,當個有競爭力的員工,能夠幫公司,創造業績?台灣的教育,現在培養的是越來越多的通才。最近媒體報導,國中七、八年級學生的最新調查發現,職業志願是廚師、麵包師和美容美髮師等注重一技之長的行業。然而過去台灣的技職體系,培養非常多的黑手老闆,因為有技術、實務經驗,加上小型開放的經濟體質,非常適合中小企業的培養。

但是如今技職體系教育的崩壞,加上全球化的時代來臨,需要更強的團隊作戰。政府應該加強技職的訓練,讓升級的科技大學比過去的工專、商專,發揮更強的功效,另方面對於中小企業走出去需要訊息的整合提供、會展平台的輔導使用,都必須到位,讓企業賺錢,員工分紅。而大企業及政府員工應有確切的調薪機制,形成比價效應,帶動百業的薪資上漲。

台灣接單,海外生產的現象必須扭轉。政府應利用租稅及各式的誘因,鼓勵台商在台生產。一方面在台創造就業機會,二方面將價值留在台灣。否則創造的是別國的就業機會,錢、利潤又都藏在海外,鯊魚返鄉炒房炒股,非常不利台灣的發展。

波特指出中國就像是「一隻一噸重的大猩猩坐在門口」,讓台灣先天具備了絕佳的地理位置優勢,台灣政爭卻影響了兩岸經濟合作。台灣社會應該認清事實,趕快凝聚共識通過服貿、貨貿協議,不要讓政治拖累台灣在大陸的經貿機會,服務業進軍大陸,台灣商品零關稅進入大陸,都有益台灣的薪資提升。

If Moderate Voters Don’t Vote, Extremism Will Triumph

If Moderate Voters Don’t Vote, Extremism Will Triumph 
United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 4, 2014

Executive Summary: The US mid-term elections are being held today. Some congressmen and governors are running for re-election. President Obama has a dismal record. Most pundits consider the situation unfavorable for the Democrats. They are likely to lose control of the senate. Obama faces a difficult future. An Economist editorial entitled “The Silent Centre” argued that if moderate voters do not vote, extremists will run amok. This warning is apropos, and is equally applicable to the year end elections on Taiwan.

Full Text Below:

The US mid-term elections are being held today. Some congressmen and governors are running for re-election. President Obama has a dismal record. Most pundits consider the situation unfavorable for the Democrats. They are likely to lose control of the senate. Obama faces a difficult future. An Economist editorial entitled “The Silent Centre” argued that if moderate voters do not vote, extremists will run amok. This warning is apropos, and is equally applicable to the year end elections on Taiwan.

Presidennt Barack Obama and President Ma Ying-jeou are in the same pickle. Their administrations were ineffective. Their approval ratings are in the toilet. They are a drag on their party’s election prospects. This is a common problem in democratic politics. Current heads of state often win re-election by virtue of the power of the incumbency. But shortly after re-election, their calcified thinking alienates the public. Their approval ratings take an immediate downturn. This phenomenon clearly dogged Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, as well as Ma’s predecessor Chen Shui-bian. The midterm elections in the US are often an opportunity to launch a counter-attack. Ma Ying-jeou has been a lame duck for some time.

There is another serious problem with democracy. It is highly susceptible to reductionism and dilution. Citizenship is reduced to merely casting a ballot. Political activism is diluted to the point where it applies only to political parties or politicians. In the United States for example, more and more money is spent on campaigns. The congressional elections burned through a record four billion US dollars. Campaign ads and technical operations have grown. Voter turnout on the other hand, has shrunk. This reflects the erosion of democracy. Voter turnout for the 2010 mid-term elections in the US was only 45%. Fewer than than half the voters went to the polls. That is deeply worrisome.

Two factors were responsible for the low voter turnout in the midterm elections. One. Low levels of minority participation. Most voters during midterm elections are white. African-American, Latino, and Asian voters have less sharply defined political identities. They are less interested in local elections. Many of them vote only during presidential elections. Latinos constitute an increasingly large percentage of the US population. The overall turnout for Latinos during the last midterm election was only 31%. The Democratic Party is attempting to turn the tide by appealing to minority voters.

Two. Centrist voters have been abandoned. The Pew Research Center is an independent polling organization. According to the center, 73% of those who consider themselves “long time conservatives” intend to vote during this election. By contrast, onlly 58% of those who consider themselves “long time liberals” intend to vote. Among those who consider themselves “centrist,” only 25% intend to vote. As a result, the Democratic and Republican campaign strategies are addressing both extremes of the political spectrum, actively seeking their party’s diehard supporters. The centrist voter on the other hand, is being ignored. He has been abandoned.

Are centrist voters too wishy-washy? Are they too difficult to win over? Are they too weak-willed? Were they abandoned because their loyalty to political parties was too weak? Were they too easily disappointed? Were they too quick to lose faith and become indifferent? This is an intriguing question. Admittedly, many historic elections hinged on the swing vote. They determined who won and who lost. They invested the election with meaning. But in most elections, the absence of the centrist voter caused democracy to retreat rather than advance.

The Pew Research Center survey also found that voters more disgusted with the other party, have a stronger incentive to vote. Republican supporters are far more disgusted with the Democratic Party than Democratic supporters are with the Republican Party. The desire of GOP voters for an upset, far exceeds the support of Democratic voters for their party.

This situation resembles blue vs. green partisan politics on Taiwan. The blue and green camps have different core supporters in different voting districts. But the true diehards are deep green voters. They can even sway the DPP leadership. As for blue camp supporters, a large proportion of them consider themselves moderates or swing voters. But they are highly susceptible to electioneering. They may abstain from voting because they consider both candidates to be rotten apples. This inevitably leads to the Economist’s concern, that extremists may run amok. This is not unheard of in Taiwan’s democracy. .

Taiwan’s democracy took a different path than America. But the two most recent elections exhibit many similarities. Compare this to the situation in Europe. Many European countries have experienced political and economic setbacks. As a result, both left and right wing extremists are on the rise. The political center has caved in. One problem is that centrist voters are weak-willed. Modern democracy encourages mediocrity. Realpolitik is ugly and cruel. And lastly, there is the problem all citizens must face. If centrist voters do not vote, extremist forces may run amok. This may be a simple observation. But its shows that preserving our hard-won democracy may not be easy.

溫和選民若不投票,極端勢力就會張狂
【聯合報╱社論】
2014.11.04 02:15 am

美國今天舉行期中選舉,改選部分議員和州長。由於歐巴馬總統施政欠佳,一般預期此次選情對民主黨不利,極可能丟掉參院領導權,歐巴馬未來將更難施為。對此,英國《經濟學人》雜誌在社論「沉默的中間」中呼籲,「如果溫和選民不投票,極端勢力將變張狂」;這句警語,用在台灣年底的選舉,似乎也十分貼切。

歐巴馬目前的處境和馬英九總統很像,都因執政效能不彰,陷入民意的低潮,並拖累整個政黨的選情。這其實也是民主政治的通病:現任元首或首長常因既有執政優勢輕易贏得連任,但連任後不久,則因執政思維一成不變讓人民感到厭煩,政情旋即陷入低迷。這種現象,在歐巴馬的前任小布希、馬英九的前任陳水扁身上,也都極為明顯。美國期中選舉,往往是這個逆襲的發動點,而馬英九的跛鴨現象則早已發生。

民主政治另一個嚴重問題,則是很容易遭到化約與稀釋:公民的政治參與,被化約到只剩「投票」;政治活動的主體,則被稀釋到僅剩「政黨」或「政治人物」。以美國為例,競選活動所花的錢越來越多(這次國會選舉估計燒掉創紀錄的四十億美元),宣傳和技術性操作越來越強,而選民的投票率卻越來越低,在在反映了民主基石的消蝕與流失。美國二○一○年的期中選舉投票率僅四成五,不到半數選民前往投票,這正是令人擔憂之處。

美國期中選舉的低投票率,有兩個主要因素:其一,少數族裔參與程度不足。期中選舉的主力選民是白人,而非裔、拉丁裔和亞裔等因為政治認同較淺的緣故,對地方性選舉較不感興趣,許多人只在總統大選時參與投票;占美國人口比重越來越高的拉丁裔,上次期中選舉的整體投票率僅三成一。也因此,這次選情落後的民主黨正設法爭取少數族裔的選票,希望力挽狂瀾。

其二,中間選民被放棄。根據美國獨立民調機構皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)的調查,這次選舉,有七十三%自認「一貫保守」的美國人將會投票,五十八%自認「一貫自由」的公民會去投票;而那些自認持「中間看法」的選民,則僅有廿五%會去投票。正因為如此,民主、共和兩黨的選戰策略都在經營光譜的兩端,積極爭取本黨的死忠支持者,中間選民則不受眷顧,成為失落的一群。

中間選民究竟是因為太會游移、不容易掌握而不受青睞,或是因為意志不堅、黨性不強而遭拋棄,抑或是他們太容易失望、太容易失去信念而變得沒趣,這是民主政治發展史上一個始終耐人尋味的問題。不可否認,歷史不少重要的選舉,是靠著「中間選民」的移動來決定成敗並賦與意義;但在更多的常態選舉中,卻是由於中間選民的失落與缺席,而讓民主政治的天平倒向一邊。

皮尤研究中心的調查還發現,對另一個政黨越感到憎惡的人,前往投票的誘因就越強;而共和黨支持者對民主黨的厭憎,遠超過民主黨支持者對共和黨的惡感,也因此,「象營」選民想要翻盤的欲望,便遠大過「驢營」護盤的選民。

這種情況,和台灣政黨政治的藍綠結構也頗類似:儘管藍綠在各地區有不同的「基本盤」,但最難撼動的一群就是所謂的「鐵桿深綠」,他們甚至不時可以左右民進黨中央的行動。至於藍營支持者中,則有比較大比例自視為溫和派或理性的「中間選民」;然而,他們卻很容易在選情激盪中受到動搖,或因不屑「兩個爛蘋果」而放棄投票。如此一來,就不免導致《經濟學人》所憂心的「極端力量擴張」的後果;這種經驗,在台灣民主政治史上也不是沒有發生過。

台灣民主發展的軌跡與歷史和美國截然不同,但此時此刻,兩國最近的選舉情勢竟有許多可堪比擬之處。若再對照歐洲的情況,不少歐洲國家最近因為政經受挫,都出現左右兩翼極端勢力增長的趨勢,顯示政治中間地帶的崩落。其中,有中間選民意志薄弱的問題,有現代民主政治「平庸化」的問題,也有現實政治醜陋與殘酷的問題,最後其實都需要全體國民一起面對。「溫和選民不投票,極端勢力就會張狂」雖是一句簡單警語,卻也道出了民主政治維持均衡之不易。