Sat, May 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

More people back trade pact than oppose it: survey

Staff writer, with CNA

A government-backed survey released on Thursday showed that 42.5 percent of respondents support the cross-strait service trade agreement with China, compared with 40.1 percent who oppose the pact signed by Taiwanese and Chinese negotiators in June last year.

The survey, conducted by National Chengchi University and commissioned by the Mainland Affairs Council, found that 70.4 percent of respondents want the legislature to begin immediate deliberation and to vote on the pact on an article-by-article basis, while 15.8 percent were against the idea.

A total of 73.2 percent of those polled agreed that it would improve the transparency of negotiations and public participation if the government solicited public opinion during each step of the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, 73.9 percent said they felt that it would improve legislative scrutiny over cross-strait agreements if government officials maintain a certain level of communication with lawmakers before any agreement with China is signed.

As for security concerns, 72.6 percent said it would be beneficial to national security if all cross-strait agreements undergo review by the Executive Yuan and evaluation by the National Security Council.

The telephone survey was conducted by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center from April 9 to April 13 on people aged 20 and over.

It gathered 1,104 valid samples for a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus-2.95 percent, the Mainland Affairs Council said.

The cross-strait service trade agreement, which has been stalled in the legislature for review for several months, triggered a 24-day occupation of the legislative chamber in Taipei that ended on April 10.

Opponents of the pact worry that it will hurt Taiwan’s interests and open the door for greater Chinese influence over the nation.

The government has argued that the agreement, a follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed with China, would benefit the nation’s economic development and is needed for Taiwan to join the trend for economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

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