Wed, Jun 27, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Extra legislative session set for end of next month

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:The issue of ractopamine-laced beef is expected to be the primary focus of the July 25-27 extra session, following interparty negotiations

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

An extra legislative session will be held from July 25 to 27 to discuss controversial issues, including ractopamine-tainted beef imports and a capital gains tax on securities transactions, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday.

Wang made the announcement following interparty negotiations yesterday morning in which all parties in the legislature agreed to hold a consultative meeting on July 24 to finalize the agenda of the three-day extra session.

The extra session became necessary because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) wants to pass amendments related to issues high on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) list of priorities, in particular the amendment of the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) to lift the ban on ractopamine-laced beef imports.

The bills failed to clear the legislature in the regular session, which closed on June 15, due to their controversy as well as the opposition’s five-day boycott of the legislative proceedings.

According to Wang, amendments to impose a capital gains tax on securities transactions, the review of four National Communications Commission (NCC) nominees and other bills deemed as uncontroversial would be on the agenda as well.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said in the negotiations that it would approve the qualification review if the Executive Yuan agreed to replace the nomination of Integral Investment Holdings Group managing director Chen Yuan-ling (陳元玲), DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

However, the Executive Yuan rejected the proposal, leaving the DPP caucus with no choice but to deal with the review in the extra session, Ker said.

The three amendments are “major bills” and should be discussed without presumption, in particular the time-constrained qualification review of the NCC nominees, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.

Lin added that other important bills, such as amendments that would implement paid family care leave, should be passed despite differing opinions among the parties.

The ractopamine-in-beef controversy is still expected to be the primary issue in the extra session as Ma had reiterated that the passage of the amendments and the subsequent lifting of a ban on ractopamine in beef would be essential to the resumption of the stalled Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations between Taipei and Washington.

The president has added that the TIFA talks would play a pivotal role in Taiwan’s attempt to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership in eight years and place itself in a better position in regional economic integration.

The extra session comes despite the KMT’s strong majority of seats in the legislature, as Ma was unable to persuade legislators from his party to pass the amendments.

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