The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reiterated its call for the proposed cross-strait service trade agreement to be renegotiated and detailed its concern over the pact’s impact on certain sectors.
“We support and respect what our comrades are doing in the Legislative Yuan,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at party headquarters, after DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers scuffled in the legislature, pushing, shoving and grabbing microphones at the start of the legislative review of the agreement.
The DPP has always supported free-trade agreements — such as those with Singapore and New Zealand — that will benefit the economy and the party does not oppose the service trade agreement, Su said.
However, the party opposes agreements that lack transparency, and the government has failed to consult industries and companies that might be affected by the pact and to undertake a proper risk assessment of its impact, he said.
In a briefing to the DPP’s Central Standing Committee, Department of China Affairs director Honigmann Hong (洪財隆) presented a list of sectors that may be adversely affected by the agreement.
Citing a public opinion poll conducted by the party on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, Hong said that 52 percent of respondents opposed the legislature passing the trade pact, while 70.5 percent supported a renegotiation of the agreement.
“We are standing on the same side as mainstream public opinion,” Hong said.
The DPP recommended that certain sectors, such as printing and publishing, advertising and logistics, should not be liberalized given the big difference in the countries’ political and economic systems.
Printing and publishing should not be open to China because Beijing maintains strict censorship and keeps a tight rein on freedom of speech, the party said.
Taiwanese logistics firms could be at risk as their Chinese counterparts are mainly state-owned enterprises that have huge financial capacity to buy up Taiwanese firms, Hong said.
Beauty parlors and laundromats — the source of livelihood for tens of thousands of small business owners — should also be exempted, he added.
Sectors that could raise national security concerns, including Type II telecommunications, Web site content management and database services, should also be excluded from the liberalization list, he said.
Hong added that liberalization as defined in the agreement was unequal, which he said could be a result either of the poor negotiating skills of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration or China’s refusal to adopt reciprocal treatment.
China has limited its liberalization of electronic commerce, retail and funeral services to specific regions, while Taiwan places no restrictions on Chinese investment, Hong said.
China will also only allow Taiwanese nonprofit organizations to operate in the social care industry, while Chinese commercial and nonprofit organizations will be allowed to operate freely in Taiwan, he added.
The DPP does not oppose liberalization of the banking business, but warned that Chinese investors could become majority shareholders of half of the 16 financial holding companies in Taiwan, Hong said.
China appears to have built mockups of a port in northeastern Taiwan and a military vessel docked there, with the aim of using them as targets to test its ballistic missiles, a retired naval officer said yesterday. Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former lieutenant commander in Taiwan’s navy, wrote on Facebook that satellite images appeared to show simulated targets in a desert in China’s Xinjiang region that resemble the Suao naval base in Yilan County and a Kidd-class destroyer that usually docks there. Lu said he compared the mockup port to US naval bases in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, and in Subic Bay
Police are investigating the death of a Formosan black bear discovered on Tuesday buried near an industrial road in Nantou County, with initial evidence indicating that it was shot accidentally by a hunter. The bear had been caught in wildlife traps at least five times before, three times since 2020. Codenamed No. 711, the bear received extensive media coverage last year after it was discovered trapped twice in less than two months in the Taichung mountains. After its most recent ensnarement last month, the bear was released in the Dandashan (丹大山) area in Nantou County’s Sinyi Township (信義). However, officials became concerned after the
The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday. About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said. The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning
DETERRENCE: US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said cross-strait affairs are on the agenda at the US-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked the Czech Senate for passing a resolution supporting Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO and other international organizations for the second consecutive year. The resolution was passed on Wednesday with 51 votes in favor, one opposed and 11 abstentions. In addition to the WHO, it also called for Taiwan’s participation in the “meetings, mechanisms and activities” of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Interpol. In its opening, the resolution states that the Czech Republic “considers Taiwan as one of its key partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” while noting its