The majority of respondents in a opinion poll support the renegotiation of the cross-strait service trade agreement and view the handling of the pact by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration as “undemocratic,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
“The survey results showed that transparency has been the most serious concern to arise from cross-strait engagement. If this administration does not change the opaque way in which it handles cross-strait affairs and continues to view cross-strait interactions as party-to-party relations, public discontent will continue,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a news conference.
The survey, conducted by the DPP’s poll center, found that 61.5 percent of respondents supported the renegotiation of the agreement and 62.5 percent opposed the passage of the pact without at least altering some of its content.
Less than one-third of those polled said that renegotiation is not required (26.7 percent) and 28.6 percent said the deal should be passed with its content unchanged.
A total of 58.2 percent of respondents said they were aware that the agreement is awaiting deliberation in the Legislative Yuan and almost the same percentage of the respondents, 61.1 percent, argued that the Ma administration had failed to uphold democratic principles by only screening the agreement in the legislature.
The respondents’ opinions on whether the pact should be passed and whether it would have a positive impact appeared to be split, as 38.8 percent supported the agreement’s passage and 46 percent opposed it, while 39.9 percent believed the deal would benefit the nation and 49.3 percent said it would harm that the economy.
Respondents seemed to be skeptical about Beijing’s sincerity in upholding the requirements of the trade agreement, with 59.3 percent of the respondents saying that China would not abide by the trade regulations and 30.9 percent saying it would.
More than half of those polled, 54.7 percent, said they had a good understanding of the agreement, which is designed to liberalize investment and the flow of personnel in specific service sectors, Lin said, but 45.3 percent said they did not know much about the trade deal.
The poll, conducted on Thursday and Friday, collected 960 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.
The proposed agreement has been stalled since it was signed by Taiwanese and Chinese government representatives in June, as the Legislative Yuan continues to organize public hearings and seek a consensus on the agreement.
The transparency of the service trade agreement has been questioned by the opposition, while some industry groups have voiced concern over the pact’s potential negative repercussions on domestic businesses.
Additional reporting by staff writer