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July 25, 2017

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Legislature to vote on beef, stock gains tax bills July 25

Lawmakers of different political parties have agreed to deliberate on bills that will determine the maximum residual levels of ractopamine in imported beef and a capital gains tax on Taiwan stock investments.

At the latest coordination meeting among political parties held yesterday, legislators agreed to hold an extraordinary legislative session from July 24-27, to tie up loose ends as the routine session has already concluded.

The timetable for the final review of the bills concerning beef imports and the stock gains tax was set for July 25. But there is still no guarantee that lawmakers from various parties have reached a consensus on how to revise certain bills.

Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of the Legislative Yuan, said ballots will be cast by the lawmakers during the final review session if no consensus on the rule revisions can be reached at the special meetings.

The proposed revisions to the food sanitation rules governing meat imports and securities trading have until now been stymied by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The DPP blocked the regular legislative session, vowing to ensure consumers' absolute safety when eating imported beef.

The DPP had repeatedly insisted on zero ractopamine residue, a feed additive fed to livestock to promote leanness in meat.

Their boycott of the legislative meetings paralyzed the legislative body, postponing lawmakers' deliberations on other bills, including rules to tax selected stock investors' huge profits reaped on the stock market.

The ruling Kuomintang has been pushing for faster revisions to the food safety rules in order to resume negotiations with the U.S. on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that was shelved by Washington after the beef trade controversy.

To stave off any new controversies, Speaker Wang and the KMT leaders emphasized all lawmakers present will vote on the bills.

In order to make up for the time lost during an opposition-led boycott of the regular legislative session, KMT lawmakers said they plan to pass as many bills as possible in the special session, to show the improved productivity of lawmakers, who were elected to serve the public.

The review and endorsement of nominees to the National Communications Commission will be among other issues on the agenda.

However, the DPP's legislative leaders did not promise to work with their KMT colleagues to cooperate on major bills selected by the Executive Yuan.

They said the opposition party certainly has its own views and opinions about which bills or issues should be given priority in the special session.

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