Wed, Apr 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Bills on cross-strait deals flawed: union

SHORTCOMING:The proposed bills were drafted partly in response to the Sunflower movement, but they do not seek to resolve the issues that sparked the movement

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Draft acts proposed by the ruling and opposition parties to establish monitoring mechanisms for cross-strait agreements are seriously flawed, because they would not be retroactive, the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday.

Six bills separately proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), and the New Power Party (NPP) and People First Party caucuses are to be reviewed at a meeting of the Internal Administration Committee today.

Committee convener Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) of the KMT placed the bills on the meeting agenda instead of a draft amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) proposed by the Executive Yuan last month.

Unlike the proposed amendment, which aims to increase oversight over cross-strait agreements of a political nature, the bills would provide a more general framework for filtering all cross-strait agreements, including trade pacts.

Although their details vary, none of the bills ensure legislative oversight, public participation, transparency or a preliminary impact evaluation for cross-strait agreements signed before their enactment, union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) told a news conference.

“This is a very serious flaw,” Lai said.

While the bills were drafted partly as a result of the 2014 Sunflower movement, none of them would require the government to renegotiate the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, he said.

“The movement’s main goal was to cancel the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement and the new law should include mechanisms to make that possible,” he said.

The NPP said it would propose a motion during the review to increase the threshold for cross-strait agreements to pass.

“It has been more than five years since the Sunflower movement and we believe more action is needed to meet the public’s expectations,” NPP caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.

The party’s draft act for monitoring cross-strait agreements stipulates that any agreement of a political nature must be approved by three-fourth of the legislators in a meeting attended by three-fourth of them.

The agreement then must be approved by more than half of the electorate in a nationwide referendum before it can take effect, according to the bill.

The NPP would also propose legislation before the end of the legislative session to tackle Chinese infiltration and disinformation, Hsu said.

The US passed the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act as early as 2016 to fight covert influence activities by Russia and China, NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said, adding that many experts in Taiwan have been calling for a similar legislation to counter Chinese meddling.

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