Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Restructuring fund talks falter

NEGOTIATIONS Lawmakers opposed passage of amendments to RTC fund during talks, making it uncertain that the bill will pass in the current legislative session

By Debby Wu and Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Susan Chang, vice chair of the Financial Supervisory Commission, greets legislators as she arrives for cross-party negotiations on a draft for the Resolution Trust Committee Fund Regulatory Provisions at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.


Inter-party negotiations on the Financial Restructuring Fund (金融重建基金) broke down at the legislature yesterday as opposition lawmakers blocked the passage of amendments to the Resolution Trust Committee Fund Regulatory Provisions (RTC, 金融重建基金設置及管理條例).

The breakdown makes the bill's passage in the current session uncertain, despite more negotiations scheduled for Monday, a lawmaker said yesterday.

"Whether the amendment can pass before the current session ends is now something that cannot be simply decided by professionalism alone," People First Party (PFP) lawmaker Christine Liu (劉憶如) said after the negotiations.

Talks were derailed after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers asked the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to extend goodwill on two other issues in exchange for passage of the bill.

But the two sides failed to reach agreement on the exchange.

According to DPP Legislator Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正), a KMT lawmaker insisted that the ruling party should pressure Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中信銀) to compensate investors for stock losses at a Kaohsiung credit cooperative, which it acquired in early July.

The KMT lawmaker said he would not agree to the passage of the RTC amendment unless Chinatrust agrees to compensate investors for losses at the Fengshan Credit Cooperative (鳳山信合社).

Another KMT lawmaker opposed the RTC amendment because he was dissatisfied with the DPP caucus' attitude on the amendment of the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會條例).

The PFP's Liu was unhappy with the KMT lawmaker's boycott of the amendment over another bill.

"The RTC is one of the few bills in the legislature that has been considered with professionalism. If, in the end, we are still to decide on the bill by political trading, then we really don't have to talk about more complicated things like bettering the country's future financial mechanisms," Liu said.

"We will not allow the RTC to be buried by another political bill just because the KMT wishes it," Liu said.

Officials from the Financial Supervisory Commission, who also joined the inter-party negotiation yesterday, said there is still a chance for the RTC bill's passage.

"The commission will continue to make efforts to communicate wisely with the legislature so as to accelerate the bill's passage," Commission Vice Chairwoman Susan Chang (張秀蓮) said.

According to Chang, the commission has also agreed to make concessions by slightly reducing the restructuring fund's size from the previously-proposed NT$320 billion to an estimated NT$288 billion.

During the negotiations, the opposition alliance gave initial consent to prolong the government's collection of financial business taxes until 2010 instead of 2014. This will generate an estimated NT$125 billion in five and a half years, for injection into the financial fund, Chang said.

She, however, expressed regret that several opposition lawmakers had linked the bill's passage with the controversial auction of Fengshan Credit Co-operative.

Chang said that "it is unlikely the commission will be able to propose revisions to the fund's bill that would satisfy everyone," and enable it to allocate a budget from the fund to return the capital of Fengshan investors.

She said that the fund had never paid such capital to investors of eight auctioned credit units in the past, as this was usually the buyers' responsibility.

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