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September 22, 2017

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ECFA sent for second reading

The Premier did not appear at the Legislative Yuan despite having said earlier that he would agree to report to the legislature on the ECFA largely due to the lack of guarantee from the DPP not to boycott the legislative procedure.

Legislative Speaker Wang said he would gather representatives from both KMT and DPP to negotiate the condition for the Premier to report to the legislature today.

The KMT legislative caucus would only agree to have the Premier at the legislature only if the DPP agree to treat him "with courtesy," sources from the KMT told the Central News Agency.

DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said that the Premier's appearance is not the focus of today's debate, which should be about the procedural flaw of sending the ECFA straight to second reading without committee review.

Clashes had been expected by the media as lawmakers interrupted their recess for the week-long extraordinary session on the trade deal that was seen as one of the most important and controversial in Taiwan's history. The ECFA, signed June 29 between Taiwan and China and approved by the Executive Yuan July 2, aims to substantially reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the two sides.

The CNA quoted an unidentified high ranking DPP official as saying that yesterday clash was the party's strategy of fighting a "limited war" to make its stance on the Beijing-friendly ECFA while not letting the issue to drag on to the year-end mayoral elections.

While the ECFA might impact some Taiwan businesses, it would undeniably benefit part of Taiwan's economy, therefore the best plan for the DPP is to contain the debate inside the legislative procedure and prevent it to become an issue for the elections, the DPP official said.

There are voices within the DPP calling for the boycott of ECFA review, but they were rejected by the DPP's decision-makers, the official said.

Walking out of the procedure will be unwise because the public will regard it as a sign of irresponsibility on the DPP's part, the official explained. "It is better to have a brawl to make our case and to answer to our constituents."

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