Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ma urges review of bills after China, S Korea sign FTA

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged a speedy review of the cross-strait service trade agreement and bills on an oversight mechanism for cross-strait negotiations, saying that the nation needs to heed the impact of the China-South Korea free-trade agreement (FTA) that was signed on Monday.

The China-South Korea FTA sent “a serious warning” to Taiwan because Taiwan competes closely with South Korea in markets such as textiles, machinery and other traditional industries, Ma said.

“Exports have been Taiwan’s lifeline. We should all face up to the predicament with regard to exports that Taiwan has been undergoing and find a way out,” Ma said when he addressed the opening ceremony of the 35th Computex Taipei trade show.

South Korea did not begin negotiations with China on the agreement until after Taiwan signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China in 2010 because it thought that the benefits the ECFA would bring for Taiwan “cannot be underestimated” and it sealed the deal in just three years, Ma said.

“Looking back at Taiwan, no progress has been made in [the ratification] of the service trade agreement and pushing through a cross-strait oversight bill,” Ma said.

Ma urged the legislature to review the bills as soon as possible because the China-South Korea FTA is expected to take effect in the second half of this year.

“We cannot afford to lag behind again,” he said.

The FTAs Taiwan has signed with other countries cover just 10 percent of its trade, compared with more than 30 percent for South Korea, Ma said.

The Sunflower movement in March and April last year against the handlings of the service trade agreement demanded that the legislature hold off reviewing the service trade agreement until an oversight law had been enacted.

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