With the legislature set to review a controversial service trade agreement with China during the current session, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was aiming to force a renegotiation of the accord.
DPP officials and legislators set down four principles to guide the review during a weekly meeting between party headquarters and the legislative caucus for discussions of major policies.
The four principles are: reciprocal market opening, fair competition, public livelihood and national security, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
While the DPP has always supported free trade, China is a special case because of the political implications and the differences in the two countries’ economic systems and market sizes, Lin quoted DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying, adding that both sides had made different pledges upon their accession to the WTO in 2002, with Taiwan opening up 58 percent of its market while China only opened 37 percent.
Liberalization as listed in the agreement is not reciprocal as far as cross-border trade in services and commercial presence is concerned, which constitutes unfair competition, Lin said.
For example, China would limit Taiwanese investment in Fujian Province to certain sectors, while Taiwan would not place restrictions on Chinese investment in the service sector, Lin said.
Service sectors that are likely to suffer a severe impact from the agreement and those that are related to national security, information security and freedom of speech also require extra protection, the DPP said.
According to an inter-party negotiation in June last year, the service trade agreement is to be screened in the legislature clause-by-clause after a series of public hearings are held.
With the last public hearing scheduled to be held next week, Su urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to respect the results of inter-party negotiations and mainstream public opinion, despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call for a speedy screening and passage of the agreement.
The DPP also urged the KMT to stop blocking several legislative proposals on cross-strait agreement monitoring and supervision of Chinese investment in the legislature’s Procedure Committee as they are designed to serve as legal safeguards for cross-strait dealings in the future.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) reiterated that the DPP caucus would not allow the KMT to push through the screening and approval of the cross-strait deal by the conclusion of the current session.