Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Legislators shelve review of free trade agreement

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature's Foreign and Overseas Compatriot Affairs Committee yesterday reserved approval of the draft free trade agreement between Taiwan, El Salvador and Honduras to protest the inclusion of the word "Taiwan" in brackets after the "Republic of China (ROC)."

"When the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Nicaragua was signed, we demanded that the government refrain from adding the word `Taiwan' to such agreements. Did they listen to us?" Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsieh Wen-cheng (謝文政) said.

Hsieh said a nonbinding resolution regarding the ban was passed in January, along with the legislature's approval of the FTA with Nicaragua, but his claim was not borne out in the legislature's gazette.

"Although the country's official name is ROC, of course we can also use the name `Taiwan' as it is more widely known than the ROC," Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hsieh Fa-dah (謝發達) said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) also defended the use of the name "Taiwan," which she said helped avoid confusion over the ROC and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

At the request of KMT lawmakers, the committee submitted the draft agreement for cross-party negotiations, which meant it could be discussed for a maximum of four months before it can be placed on the agenda of the plenary session for its second and third reading.

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