Service pact unlikely to get opposition OK: KMT lawmaker
CNATAIPEI--A cross-Taiwan Strait service trade agreement is expected to face strong resistance on the legislative floor when the new session opens next month, as opposition lawmakers remain strongly against the pact, a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) legislator said Saturday.
September 1, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
KMT lawmaker Lin Hung-chih, who heads his party's Central Policy Committee, said he thinks opposition legislators, in particular Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, will try their best to block the agreement.
In light of this situation, it cannot be said when or even whether the agreement will be approved during the new legislative session that starts Sept. 17, Lin said.
The agreement, signed in Shanghai in June between Taiwan and China, seeks to open up the service sectors on each side to the other. But the opposition parties, some academics and members of the private sector have voiced objections to the pact, saying it will negatively affect Taiwan's service industry and eventually hurt the local job market.
Since the review of the pact in the committee stage during the last legislative session, some opposition lawmakers have withdrawn their support even for non-controversial sections of the agreement and have vowed to boycott its legislative processing, Lin said.
Against this background, the Legislature plans to hold 16 public hearings on the issue before it begins review of the agreement in the new session, in November at the earliest, according to Lin.
In addition, President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang are scheduled to hold a televised debate Sept. 15 on the service trade pact, under which Taiwan has agreed to allow China to run businesses in areas such as printing, car rental, cargo transportation, gondolas, beauty parlors and salons, online gaming and funeral services.
Beijing, meanwhile, has agreed to open businesses such as e-commerce, printing, hospitals, construction and transportation to Taiwanese investors.
Legislative approval of the pact will depend on the opposition parties, Lin said, adding that the KMT wants to see it passed by the end of the year because it will help to improve people's wellbeing and benefit the country.
Another KMT lawmaker Hsu Hsin-yin, supported Lin's views and agreed that the ruling party will encounter a “very difficult battle” over the agreement in the new legislative session.
The agreement is considered the most significant economic accord signed between Taiwan and China since their landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010.