Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Civic groups show lawmakers service pact drawbacks

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

While Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) voiced his approval of the cross-strait service trade pact signed with China last month, civic groups yesterday found that as many as 75 percent of the businesses in the area around Lai’s office in Taipei would be affected by the agreement.

About a dozen people representing several civic groups yesterday walked along Jingxing Street (景興街) — where Lai’s office is — early in the morning, to determine the percentage of businesses that would be affected by the service agreement.

“Starting from the beginning of Jingxing Street all the way up to Lai’s office at No. 254, we counted 75 stores, 61 of which would be affected by the deal, meaning that 75 percent of the business in the area are vulnerable to the pact’s effects,” Democracy Watch convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) told a press conference in front of the legislator’s office.

“What Lai Shyh-bao has said about the deal having a negligible negative impact while generating lots of benefits is obviously false,” Lai Chung-chiang said.

He said that among the businesses on Jingxing that may suffer when the agreement is implemented are motorcycle repair shops, restaurants, electronic appliance retailers and travel agencies.

“According to our estimate, as many as 5 million people may be affected by the service trade agreement. I hereby call on the Legislative Yuan — and especially the KMT caucus — to be very careful when it reviews the agreement,” Lai Chung-chiang said.

Most of the Jingxing Street businesses that the group surveyed said they are unclear about the details of the agreement.

“I actually don’t know what’s in the agreement, but of course I am worried,” a breakfast restaurant server said. “But there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯), who also took part in the poll, said its findings should remind legislators who support the agreement that its impacts may be felt in the neighborhoods that house their offices.

“The government has been very irresponsible in signing the agreement, so the legislature must act more responsibly,” Son said. “We want to make these legislators’ neighbors aware that they are likely to be negatively impacted and we want legislators to know that the repercussions may be seen in their neighborhoods.”

Son added that the group is planning to mobilize unionists to call lawmakers’ offices and express their opposition to the agreement.

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