Wed, Mar 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NPP caucus tables bill on monitoring cross-strait pacts

Staff writer, with CNA

The New Power Party (NPP) caucus yesterday proposed its version of the draft act on an oversight mechanism for cross-strait agreements, titling the draft “the act governing the signing of agreements between this country and the People’s Republic of China.”

NPP Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said “this country” (我國) pertains to the Republic of China (ROC), and different views to this interpretation held by other caucuses, if there are any, could be discussed at the legislative committee meetings.

Huang said the principle of popular sovereignty stipulated in the ROC Constitution is unmistakable, and the NPP has defined the relationship between Taiwan and China in accordance with its party platform.

“This country” indicates the ROC according to the existing democratic constitutional institution, he added.

The institutionalization of an oversight mechanism for cross-strait pacts has been called for since the student-led Sunflower Movement in 2014 and the NPP’s version of the bill has incorporated the core elements contained in the non-governmental version drafted by academics and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during the movement, he said.

The Sunflower movement in the spring of 2014 was an outcry that led to a 23-day occupation of the Legislative Yuan by mainly young protesters over the ramming through of a trade pact with China by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

The core of the non-governmental version is the emphasis on the government’s responsibilities in evaluating the potential impacts on industries before signing agreements and preparing compensatory measures for post-agreement damages, transparency of related information, protection of human rights, public participation and legislative oversight, he said.

The biggest difference between the NPP version of the bill and the one drawn up by the Executive Yuan lies in whether pre-signing supervision is clearly outlined, Huang said.

“The NPP’s version of the bill requires the participation of the legislature and NGOs prior to the signing to set up a non-governmental consultation committee during the negotiation process and allows for amendments and additional terms after the signing [of the agreement],” Huang said.

He said the executive branch has to collect public opinions widely, submit a comprehensive report on the potential impact of the pact and agree to have non-governmental groups put forward their version of an impact report.

“If the government and non-government versions differ widely, a legislative hearing could be called to investigate and its results could form part of the materials for legislative deliberation,” Huang said.

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