The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday reaffirmed its opposition to passing the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement in the second extra legislative session and warned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against forcing the pact through the legislature.
The DPP opposes holding a second extra session, which is scheduled to begin on July 29, but the KMT’s legislative majority means it will be able to force the session, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told reporters after the meeting.
“However, we insist that the pact be reviewed clause-by-clause in six committees rather than being voted as a package as the KMT hopes for,” he said.
“If the KMT decides to push the pact directly to a second reading, we do not rule out any measure to stop the proceedings,” Ker said.
He said screening of the agreement could take until the end of the year, since it would have to go through the committees and a one-month moratorium period for party negotiations before it could be passed during the next legislative session, which will run from September to December.
A prolonged clause-by-clause screening would ensure that the opinions of those industries that may be affected by the pact will be included in the discussion, Ker said.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who also attended the meeting, said public hearings for various service industries should be organized in the legislature during the screening period.
“The DPP supports free trade and the signing of free-trade agreements with trade partners,” Su told DPP lawmakers.
“What we oppose are the opaque process of the cross-strait service trade pact as well as the lack of communication with local sectors and monitoring by the legislature,” he said.
Judging from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ hasty release of an impact assessment report on Monday, Su said the KMT appeared to be determined to force the agreement through the legislature in the second extra session.
The assessment report by Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research contained at least three major flaws, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference in Taipei.
“The potential impact of the pact was calculated by using an incorrect economic model [the Global Trade Analysis Project Model]. Moreover, the positive effect was exaggerated, while the negative impact was underestimated,” Chen said.
Non-economic factors, such as potential impact on society and national security, were completely ignored in the report, the lawmaker said.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said the “all positive and no negative” report was ironic.
“If the pact is as good as advertised, I do not see where people’s concerns came from,” he said.