Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Majority opposes trade agreement: poll

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Most Taiwanese say they know little about the cross-strait service trade agreement, but a majority oppose it, a survey by Chinese-language magazine Business Week showed yesterday.

A total of 80.9 percent of respondents said they do not have sufficient knowledge about the pact, which the government said will improve cross-strait service exchanges, the survey indicated, after earlier pacts cut taxes on hundreds of bilateral exports.

“The findings suggest a communication failure on the part of the government as hundreds of students occupy the legislature to demand a transparent review,” Shih Hsin University finance professor Kuo Nai-fong (郭迺鋒) told a media briefing.

Overall, 56.3 percent of respondents opposed the pact, while 22.3 percent supported it, the survey showed, after polling 1,079 Taiwanese aged 20 and older.

Among respondents with a neutral political stance, 51.5 percent disapproved of the pact, while 83 percent of opposition supporters utterly rejected it, the survey found. The pact had the backing of 50.6 percent of pan-blue respondents.

Worries about potential job losses accounted for the resistance, especially among students, the survey showed.

About 70 percent of student respondents withheld their support over concern that the pact would make job-hunting more difficult.

Whatever their political affiliations, 76.1 percent of the respondents lent support to the students’ plea that the pact return to committee review before heading to final readings, the survey said.

In addition, 64.9 percent of the respondents supported the student occupation of the legislative chamber as the move has helped raise public awareness of an important policy, the survey said.

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