Thu, Jul 10, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Real-Estate Securitization Statute passes legislature

SLOW GOING One bill was passed late yesterday, but the outlook for the others is looking doubtful as consensus eludes party caucuses in spite of hard negotiation


The Statute Regarding Real-Estate Securitization (不動產證券化條例) was the first of the six economy revitalization bills that passed third reading at the legislature late last night on the second day of the three-day special session.

The Statute Governing the Establishment and Management of Free Ports (自由貿易港區設置及管理條例) passed second reading except for one article.

"The final day of the extraordinary session will vote on Clause 10:2 when lawmakers move forward to the third reading of the bill tomorrow," Legislative Yuan Vice President Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤) said late last night.

After independent lawmakers' opposition to the clause -- according to which basic wages of foreign workers in free ports would be excluded from restrictions covering non-Taiwanese workers' minimum wages in the Labor Standards Law (勞動基準法) -- a legislative showdown is likely today.

Lawmakers also achieved a consensus on advancing the real-estate securitization statute in the final minutes of yesterday's session.

The real-estate bill, which passed third reading late last night, became the first of the six economic stimulus bills likely to be passed by the special session after the Ministry of Finance adjusted its position according to a previous consensus of all the party caucuses.

According to the consensus, developing land projects will be barred from the securitization plan.

The free-port law, stipulating rules for the establishment and operation of free ports, stagnated due to a challenge from independent lawmakers who refused to endorse an earlier consensus reached by the other four party caucuses.

The independents demanded the DPP prioritize the proposed Regulation on Offshore Development (離島建設條例) in the next legislative session in exchange for their support.

The free-port legislation finally moved ahead after Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) visited the Legislative Yuan and asked lawmakers to speed things up.

"Finalizing the free-port law is not only a matter for Kaohsiung, but also an issue for the whole country since setting up free ports is decisive to Taiwan's hope to reinforce economic competitiveness," Hsieh told representatives of the independent alliance.

"The free-port legislation was expected to clear the legislative floor in January," Hsieh said.

Hsieh also said that it was worrying that any measures left unresolved by the special session will be further held up when the legislature resumes in September by the confirmation vote for new grand justices, which will top the agenda in the new session.

Independent lawmakers finally gave a green light to the free-port statute after meeting with Hsieh and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

"This is the first draft bill approved by multiparty negotiations, a starting point of achievement for the three-day extraordinary session," said Wang after the second reading of the free-port statute.

The second-day session started with a marathon of multiparty negotiations, which led Wang to give a pessimistic prediction for the final results of the special session.

"Fundamental discord exists among individual party caucuses regarding each of the six bills. The only thing we can do is try our utmost to mend our differences and push for the best result in the special session," Wang said.

Also see story:

TSU wants to limit number of free-port foreign workers

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