Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) should step down if he does not guarantee that the service trade agreement with China will not be validated until the legislature conducts a de facto review of it, civic groups said yesterday as they rallied outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday to protest the signing of the pact.
“The premier should publicly promise that he will not validate the pact until the Legislative Yuan reviews and approves it. If he does not promise this, or unilaterally validates the agreement, we call on lawmakers to dissolve the Cabinet and boycott it by all means possible,” Cross-Strait Agreements Watch convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
“This is an agreement that will have a huge impact on workers and yet the government not only declined to allow the public to participate in the decisionmaking process prior to the pact’s signing, it is now not allowing public involvement after the signing,” Lai said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The service agreement was signed by the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits on Friday last week.
Under the pact, Chinese capital and personnel will be allowed to enter some industries in Taiwan’s service sector and Taiwan will be granted to access to some Chinese industries.
The development has caused concern among many Taiwanese, who worry that Chinese capital may marginalize Taiwanese capital and that Chinese workers will take job opportunities from their local counterparts.
Though the content of the agreement was kept hidden from the public and the Legislative Yuan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-majority legislature is likely to approve it without going through the details.
Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) said that neither the government nor the service industry are fully prepared to meet the new challenges that they will face after the pact is implemented.
“The government should not validate the service trade pact without being fully prepared for its effects,” Son said. “We would especially like to protest the government’s plan to allow Chinese workers into Taiwan in such a rash and underprepared manner.”
Taiwan Rural Front researcher Hsu Po-jen (許博任) said that almost everyone would be affected by the new deal and urged the public to pay more attention to it.
“Running water, electricity, gas, education — everything that we thought would be protected by the government may become corporate-controlled,” Hsu said.
“Thinking beyond China, with the KMT and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) support for free trade and economic liberalization, not only Chinese capital, but also US, South Korean, or Japanese capital could be in control of our lives,” Hsu added.
“We have to shout our opposition to any kind of free trade that favors multinational corporations,” he added.
After Executive Yuan official Chang Hung-chun (張洪均) took the petition from the protesters — without making any comments — the demonstrators moved to the Legislative Yuan to meet with the Democratic Progressive Party, People First Party and Taiwan Solidarity caucuses to discuss further action in the legislature against the agreement.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The Taipei City Government yesterday said that construction on the long-suspended Taipei Dome can resume immediately, after it approved a request by the project’s main contractor, Farglory Group. In a statement, the Taipei Construction Management Office said that after it on July 16 issued a new building permit, Farglory submitted revised design plans and an application to resume construction, which the office approved on Friday. Construction had been suspended on the dome, near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District (信義), for more than five years due to disagreements between the city and the company over the safety of some of