Friday, February 24, 2012

What’s next for the DPP?

l One month after losing the presidential election, Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has apparently remained in disarray, from its organization to policy.

l With DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen set to step down at the end of February to take responsibility for losing the presidential election in January, there seemed to be a “wait-and-see” attitude among the different factions and party leaders, making the rank-and-file unsure of the party’s future.

l As such, it may take months before Taiwan’s largest opposition party reconciles internal differences and recuperates from consecutive losses in presidential election.

l  In the party's post-election report, Tsai had listed more than 20 reasons, including the party's cross-Strait policy, the response mechanism to crises during the campaign, the inefficient--and insufficient--campaign promotion, and the voting behavior of most Taiwanese returnees from China, that were deemed responsible for the party’s election failure.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

US beef controversy resurfaced

l  A controversy resurfaced this week over the US beef imports to Taiwan. In fact, since the signing of the US beef protocol in November 2009, the controversy surrounding the safety of US beef imports never went away completely.

l  Though subsequent media reports have been sporadic, Taiwan's ban on US beef products containing the feed additive ractopamine has hindered progress in bilateral ties, particularly the resumption of high-level trade talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between Washington and Taipei.

l  An ad-hoc inter-agency task force—including the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Council of Agriculture (COA), and Ministry of Health (MOH)—was subsequently set up in the Cabinet to formulate a strategy.

l  Whether the ban on ractopamine gets lifted or whether a stricter residue level is adopted, the standard will be the same for local and imported meat products.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taiwan completes first phase of Cabinet reshuffle

l  The biggest political news in Taiwan during the nine-day Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday was the Cabinet reshuffle. Outgoing Premier, and vice president-elect, Wu Den-yih tendered resignation en masse in late January, and Sean Chen, the former vice premier, was nominated by President Ma Ying-jeou to succeed Wu.

l  Before the presidential inauguration in May, Wu, since he will have no official capacity, may attend the Boao Forum in April to meet with Li Keqiang, who will likely become China’s next premier in spring 2013.

l  The ongoing Cabinet overhaul will be carried out in stages, and the process will not be complete until more personnel changes are made in the National Security Council (NSC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

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