Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Stalling review of service pact hurts benefits: economist

Staff writer, with CNA

An economist yesterday urged the legislature to quickly pass the service trade agreement signed by Taiwan and China on June 21, warning that the advantages the nation could enjoy from ratifying the deal earlier than its trade rivals may diminish over time.

With progress on the legislative review of the pact stalled, and other countries and territories, including Hong Kong, already gearing up to seek similar pacts, Taiwan risks losing its advantages, said Roy Lee (李淳) of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER).

Lee added that the advantages of free-trade agreements (FTA) are gauged in relative terms.

For example, if Taiwan and the US sign an FTA, the full range of advantages South Korea enjoys from its FTA with the US will be limited to the period of time before Taipei strikes a similar deal, Lee said, without elaborating.

He said that this effect also applies to the cross-strait service trade deal and any such trade pacts that Beijing signs with other parties.

Hong Kong and Macau proposed being extended treatment from China similar to that stipulate in the cross-strait agreement after Beijing and Taipei signed the deal, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits President Chen Deming (陳德銘) said.

Starting in January next year, China is expected to further open up its service sector to businesses Hong Kong and Macau, extending the same treatment to the territories that is to be enjoyed by Taiwan under the pact, Chen was quoted as saying after a meeting with Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association chairman Kuo Tai-chiang (郭台強) in Beijing on Sept. 3.

Lawmakers have yet to complete their detailed review of the cross-strait services pact, amid controversy over the possible adverse effects the deal’s implementation may have on the local service industry.

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