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KMT aims to pass cross-strait pact this session

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chi (林鴻池), who doubles as the party's Policy Committee convener, yesterday said the Cross-Strait Trade In Services Agreement is the upcoming legislative session's major challenge, stressing that for the country, and for the benefit of the people, the pact must be passed in the Legislative Yuan.

The new legislative session is slated to begin this morning. The KMT held a routing meeting at the party's headquarters yesterday in which the party invited KMT heavyweights Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), speaker of the Legislative Yuan, and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), to discuss the key issues to be discussed in the new session.

Lin told local press that the Executive Yuan has prioritized 60 bills that need to be discussed during this session, including the trade in services agreement and the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) draft bill, as well as a review of the prosecutor-general's personnel proposal. “It's going to be a busy session,” Lin added.

Noting that deliberation over the Cross-Strait Trade In Services Agreement would be a great challenge in this session, Lin said should the pact fail to be passed in the Legislature, it would have a huge impact on the ruling party and people's benefits, and Taiwan would be marginalized in terms of international trade.

“Pushing the trade in services agreement and the FEPZs is not for the KMT, it's for everyone in this country,” Lin said, noting that the Executive Yuan should offer detailed explanations of major policies to lawmakers.

The Executive Yuan should maintain a close relationship with the Legislative Yuan, Lin noted. The Executive Yuan should make sure the lawmakers understand the Cabinet's position and should not let lawmakers offer comments that are against the government's stance, he added.

Premier Seeks Legislature's Support

Premier Jiang said if the trade in services agreement is passed this legislative session, it will bring positive effects to Taiwan in terms of entering mainland China's service industry market ahead of South Korea and Japan.

Jiang said he hopes the Legislative Yuan can deliberate on the trade in services agreement as soon as possible, noting that it is not the Cabinet's call to decide a date to discuss the bill in the Legislature.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang said the Legislature will hold the last public hearing for the trade in services agreement on March 10, after which the Legislature will start deliberations.

When asked by local media if the pact could be passed during this session, Wang said that he cannot guarantee it, but as the pact is prioritized in this session, “everyone should do their best to make it happen.”

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