Gov't to promote cross-strait goods pact amid service pact controversy
By Ted Chen, The China Post
April 15, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Industrial Development Bureau (工業局) yesterday announced that 14 seminars explaining the specifics of the upcoming Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement (貨貿) will be staged this month in order to avoid yet another outburst of social discord over trade pacts with mainland China.
The controversy over the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (服貿) led to the recently concluded occupation of the Legislative Yuan by student activists.
The bureau stated that 14 seminars will be staged over the course of this month, including three large-scale events at industrial zones situated in Taiwan's northern, central and southern regions on April 15, 17 and 30, set to take place at the New Taipei Industrial Park Service Center (新北產業園區服務中心), the Dafa Industrial Park Service Center (大發工業區服務中心) and the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park Service Center (彰濱工業區服務中心), respectively. The events will seek the opinions of local enterprises and industry representatives, with the government eager to gain a better take on the populace's demands, requirements and expectations as Taiwan's markets grow more open to China.
Contrary to similar events hosted previously in February and March, the talks will not be based solely on input from businesses but will also include the voices of civic organizations. In addition, the government will also be using the opportunity to clear up existing concerns over the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.
Meanwhile, in response to academia's calls for the government to secure first the trade in goods agreement before progressing to the service industries component, Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (陸委會), stated that negotiations are ongoing and concurrent. However, tariff negotiations pertaining to the goods accord remain inconclusive. Wang also emphasized that recent developments are not influenced by President Ma Ying-jeou's rumored desire to seek an audience with PRC President Xi Jinping. Wang explained that as the trade in goods agreement encompasses about 10,000 trade goods, tariff negotiations will require a lengthy process before the results may be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval.