Mon, Jun 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

DPP lauches meetings to assess trade pact effects

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to begin visiting business sector representatives today to consult with them about the potential impacts of the cross-strait service trade agreement, something President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration neglected to do before it signed the pact in Shanghai, China, on Friday, the party said.

The DPP also proposed employing clause-by-clause screening and voting when the legislature reviews the pact in the extra legislative session to minimize any damage the business sectors may suffer after the implementation of the pact, which will open 64 local industries to Chinese investment and give Taiwan access to 80 of China’s industries.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is to meet with the Chinese herbal apothecary associations of Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市) today, as well as with representatives of shop owners in Taipei’s Dihua Street (迪化街) known for its — Chinese herbal products — in the first of a series of meetings with members of the sectors included in the pact’s liberalization list, the DPP said yesterday.

Su is also planning to meet with representatives of the publishing, printing, tourism and construction sectors, among others, DPP Department of China Affairs director Honnigman Hong (洪財隆).

On Saturday, Su said he would convene a meeting with the mayors and commissioners of DPP-governed cities and counties to discuss the potential effects of the agreement, as well as countermeasures and strategies for those repercussions.

The party on Saturday responded angrily to the pact’s signing, denouncing the government’s “arrogant” attitude during the negotiation process as “a serious violation of the democratic process” because the talks were not transparent.

The DPP added that aside from not consulting with local businesses, the government also failed to compile a comprehensive assessment report on the deal’s effects prior to signing it.

Since the pact has already been inked, the party said is trying to minimize any potential damage to the economy by requesting that the legislature screen the agreement clause-by-clause.

In response to the DPP’s request, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said he agreed with clause-by-clause screening, but that the pact should be put to vote as a package.

However, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday said the party risks committing the same mistake it made when it reviewed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in 2010 if it agrees to Wang’s counterproposal.

The party would inevitably be forced to vote against the pact if the agreement was voted on as a package, which could once again create the false perception that the DPP opposes any cross-strait economic exchanges, Lin said.

“We cannot afford to make that same error again,” he said.

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