Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) on Wednesday said his visiting Chinese counterpart has “responded positively” to his proposal to reopen negotiations on certain items in the cross-strait service trade agreement signed last year on the condition that it is first put into effect.
Wang made the remarks at a press conference following a meeting with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), who arrived on Wednesday on his first visit to Taiwan.
The council minister said that at the meeting, he proposed “allowing the service trade agreement to be enforced first, with the two sides then starting to negotiate controversial articles through an emergency mechanism.”
That would effectively mean that only parts of the agreement would go into effect, pending the document’s review by the legislature.
The mechanism proposed by the council official was included in the articles of the original agreement to deal with “emergency” situations, Wang said.
He added that he thinks this solution is a better option than trying to toss out the entire content of the accord and reopening the negotiations conducted by the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in June last year.
The trade pact has been stuck in limbo after meeting opposition from legislators across party lines and many members of the public.
The agreement’s critics fear that it could open a “back door” through which Chinese enterprises and workers will flood Taiwan, threatening local jobs and businesses.