Really Going WTO?  (c) Simon Xi Zhang, 2002



2. Plan for Enforcement and Basic Points of Normalization Efforts

Core measures for legal revision in compliance with WTO obligations vis-à-vis mainland are offered in another guideline document -- Enforcement Plan for Adjusting Cross-Strait Economic and Trade Policies in Light of WTO Accession (hereinafter WTO Plan or "the Plan")[51]. It advances the idea of "normalization of cross-strait economic and trade relation". Draft amendments to various laws and regulations are attached to this WTO Plan[52]. Ministerial regulations have been amended accordingly by the time this article is finished, while legislation amendments have yet to go through Legislative Yuan.

The WTO Plan acknowledges that the present system is at great discrepancy to standards laid down by WTO. The Plan offers to achieve gradually the normalization (1) on the foundation of "stability and safety", (2) through "gradual and proper sequences", and (3) reforming those parts "being under our control power" as priorities[53].

The blueprint for policy adjustment is divided into five major parts: trade in goods, trade in service, financial transactions, exchange of persons, and "three direct links"[54]. Only the first three parts are concerned in this article, although exchange of persons is related to and overlapping with trade in service as to "presence of natural persons".

[51] Jointly devised by MAC, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Council for Economic Planning and Development, Council of Agriculture, and other relevant authorities. Adopted at 2769th Meeting of Executive Yuan (January 16, 2002).

[52] Appendixes I to VIII, Appendix Tables I and II to WTO Plan.

[53] Ms. Tsai Ing-wen, Chairperson of MAC, shortly before Doha Ministerial Conference adopted Taiwan's Protocol of Accession, telling journalists that a gap between the scope of market access available to China and that available to other WTO members had to be maintained after Taiwan joined WTO. See, Tsai: Cross-strait Trade and Economy cannot be Opened without Misgiving, United Daily News, section 6 (Taipei, November 10, 2001). MAC is the principal agency devising the WTO Plan and has paramount influence over other ministries in making cross-strait trade and economic policies.

[54] "Three direct links" are: direct postal and telecommunication link, direct commercial link, and direct transportation link. Note that except for direct commercial link, "three direct links" are not governed by WTO rules. The realization of three links are further complicated by Taiwan's lack of memberships at Universal Postal Union, ITU, and ICAO. The ultimate three direct links thus can be only achieved through cross-strait negotiation.