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90% of Taiwan industries think China trade pact's favorable

TAIPEI -- A trade in services pact between Taiwan and China is expected to benefit more than 90 percent of Taiwan's industries, the vice chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce in Taiwan said Tuesday.

Nelson Chang said at a press briefing that Taiwan should open its market to other countries in line with the global economic liberalization trend.

While such market opening may adversely affect some local industries, it is the government's duty to provide assistance to those businesses, he said.

"We should not abandon 90 percent of our local industries for fear of hurting the other 10 percent," Chang said.

Maintaining a closed market would mean exclusion of most Taiwan industries from many international trade systems and would weaken the competitiveness of Taiwanese products and services because of higher tariffs, he said.

As the public protests against the trade in services pact with China continued into the eighth day, Chang called for further negotiations among all the parties involved to resolve the disputes over the agreement and improve national economic development.

The pact, which allows Taiwan and China to open up their service sectors to each other, was signed last June but has been stalled in the Legislature as opposition lawmakers fear it will give China a stronger hold on Taiwan's economy and hurt local job and business opportunities.

A group of student-led protesters stormed the Legislature in downtown Taipei March 18 and have since been occupying the main chamber in protest against efforts by ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers to fast-track the pact to a full floor vote.

On March 23, hundreds of protesters broke into the Cabinet building a block away from the Legislature, seeking to force the government to retract the agreement.

Police evicted the protesters from the Cabinet compound early Monday, using what some critics described as excessive force.

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