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DPP lawmakers occupy meeting room in attempt to stall cross-strait pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- On the eve of the first committee review of the Taiwan-China trade-in-services agreement, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers occupied a meeting venue yesterday in a move intended to hamper the Kuomintang's (KMT) attempt to declare the pact effective immediately.

The last public hearing on the trade-in-services agreement concluded on March 10. DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), one of the two conveners of the legislature's Internal Administration Committee, caught KMT lawmakers by surprise and scheduled a review of the agreement last Friday. The meeting is set to convene on Wednesday and Thursday.

In an address to party legislators following a meeting of the DPP caucus on Tuesay, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) accused the KMT of betraying its own pledge by going against mainstream public opinion. Su said the DPP would still prefer to see the pact renegotiation.

According to local media reports, around 20-30 DPP legislators and their aides started sneaking into the meeting venue on Thursday afternoon. Those DPP legislators spent last night in the meeting room and occupied the rostrum today, setting up an inevitable showdown with KMT lawmakers.

Hours after Su's call for renegotiation, the KMT caucus said it would take a series of actions to paralyze the committee review, threatening that it might even push the pact through the Legislature without review.

KMT lawmakers said that according to Article 61 of the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan's Power, they could declare the pact effective immediately.

The article stipulates that any executive order that fails to complete a committee review within three months of the plenary session assigning it to the committee shall be deemed passed and effective immediately.

Legislative Dysfunction Undermines Industry's Competitive Edge: Insurers

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) and the Non-Life Insurance Association (NLIA) released a joint statement yesterday, stating that the functional failure of Taiwan's legislative branch is hurting the operational sustainability of the island's insurance industry.

According to the LIA and NLIA, the trade-in-services pact is crucial to the setting up of an insurance supervisory platform between Taiwan and China, adding that the pact will help simplify administrative procedures for Taiwanese insurance firms to meet the requisite conditions to set up or procure equity in insurance institutions in China.

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