Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT offers part of bill for review

ONE SMALL STEP The more ‘controversial’ aspects of a proposal to create a special airport zone in Taoyuan will be discussed at a future date

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus has reached a consensus and will allow some of the less controversial articles of a draft proposal on turning areas surrounding Taoyuan International Airport into a special airport zone to pass a preliminary review during a legislative committee meeting tomorrow, a caucus member said yesterday.

Approached for comment, KMT caucus Deputy Secretary-General Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said caucus members had agreed during a meeting on Friday to seek the completion of committee review for some of the eight remaining and least controversial articles of the draft during tomorrow’s meeting.

They had also agreed to leave the “controversial” articles for further negotiation with incoming transportation and communications minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) after the KMT administration assumes office next Tuesday, he said.

The draft bill was reviewed during legislature’s Transportation Committee meetings on April 15 and April 18.

The bill seeks the creation of “Taoyuan Airport City” — a special zone covering the airport and surrounding areas managed by a board of seven to nine directors.

Corporations located within the special zone would be eligible for several tax benefits while businesspeople from China and other countries could obtain visas after they arrive in the special zone.

Lawmakers from the committee passed the first reading of a large portion of the bill on April 15, while putting eight out the proposal’s 63 articles up for further deliberation.

The April 18 meeting scheduled to review the remaining eight articles proved fruitless after opposition from both the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Several KMT legislators from the south and central parts of the country were opposed to the bill, arguing that similar zones should also be established at Kaohsiung International Airport and Chingchuankang Airport in Taichung. For their part, DPP legislators expressed concerns over whether such a zone would remain the subject of other regulations.

In response to the news, DPP legislative caucus whip Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said the party would continue to oppose the draft.

The zone’s board of directors created by the bill would have too much power, she said, adding that it could set regulations for the special zone and decide which parcels of land would be incorporated into the zone.

Yeh said that under the bill, as many as 33 laws would not apply to the special zone, which would run the risk of creating a “one country, two systems” situation in Taiwan.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG

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