The opposition is using “stalling tactics” on major economic legislation that are aimed at “bringing down the government,” Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday, asking business leaders to “tell the public how Taiwan is losing its ability to compete.”
He deplored the opposition’s assertions that the government is trying to scare the public by exaggerating the negative effects that a China-South Korea free-trade agreement (FTA) expected to be signed next year would have on Taiwan.
“The practice of fooling people with specious arguments has to stop,” Jiang said when receiving industry association leaders.
On numerous occasions during the past year-and-a-half, ministers have attended sessions in the legislative chamber and waited in vain for legislation to be passed, such as that on establishing free economic pilot zones or the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
He blamed the lack of progress and the August resignation of then-minister of economic affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) on “never-ending obstruction.”
For progress to be made on legislation, Jiang said it is not enough to rely on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration. “The general public needs to support the ruling party and to sway the opposition,” he said.
Jiang’s remarks came at a time when the administration is stepping up efforts to push the cross-strait service trade agreement and a bill on the oversight of all cross-strait agreements through the Legislative Yuan.
Over the past week, top economics officials, including Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍), have participated in TV and radio talk shows to stress the potential impact on Taiwan of the proposed free-trade agreement between China and South Korea and to warn of the consequences of further delays to passing legislation in the Legislative Yuan.
Duh said yesterday that between 2 and 5 percent of Taiwanese exports to China could be replaced by South Korean products within two years of a South Korea-China pact being signed, which would cost Taiwan between NT$100 billion and NT$250 billion (US$3.2 billion and US$8 billion) per year.
The deal could affect about 400,000 employees in the nation’s small and medium-sized traditionally run enterprises, the majority of which are in central and southern Taiwan, he said.
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