The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that it would send representatives to negotiations with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over a proposed debate between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on the cross-strait service trade agreement.
The first working meeting between the DPP and the KMT is set to be held at the offices of the Public Television Service (PTS), which is organizing the televised debate, at 3pm today, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), the DPP’s Policy Research Committee deputy executive director Huang Chih-ta (黃致達), the DPP’s Department of Communication deputy director Chang Li-ke (張力可) and Wang will form the DPP’s negotiation team, the party said.
Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said that Ma would prefer the debate to be held before the next legislative session begins next month.
The KMT criticized Su for allegedly vetoing the use of a media question-and-answer session in the televised debate, saying that Su was trying to shun media scrutiny.
Wang said that the DPP is approaching the debate as an opportunity for better communication with the public about the controversial agreement, which is expected to affect hundreds of service sub-sectors and millions of employees in the service industry, if ratified.
“We would like to see the arrangement [of the debate] as ‘16 plus one’ and one more opportunity for people to understand more about the agreement,” he said, referring to the 16 public hearings that are scheduled to be held by the legislature on various service sub-sectors that would be affected by the trade pact.
Asked about Su’s refusal to participate in a media Q&A session, Wang said the details of the debate would be worked out during negotiations.
The service trade agreement was inked on June 21 in Shanghai by the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits as part of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).
Expressing concerns over its potential impact on Taiwan’s economy and workers, civic groups have called on the government to renegotiate the pact.