The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising the cross-strait service trade agreement, but a new poll showed that 85 percent of the public know little about the pact, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said yesterday, urging the council to halt its promotional activities.
Statistics offered by the council showed that it has spent NT$10.8 million (US$360,000) between May and last month to publicize the agreement in an effort to raise public support for the pact and facilitate its approval by the legislature. The budget included NT$6 million for print advertisements and NT$1.5 million for public forums at local temples.
She said there is little evidence that the council has increased the public’s understanding of the pact.
According to a survey released by Taiwan Thinktank on Monday, 85.5 percent of respondents said that they knew nothing about the pact, and 61.6 percent said they are worried about the pact’s potential impact on the local service sector.
“The government is spending people’s money when it has yet to profit the public via the agreement... The council should suspend all promotional activities before the legislature approves the agreement,” she told a press conference.
The legislature’s Internal Administration Committee (IAC) is scheduled to review the pact next week. However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), one of the committee’s conveners, has arranged eight of the 16 hearings required by a committee resolution for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Huang said.
She said this showed the KMT caucus’ strategy to push the agreement through the legislature as soon as possible.
Council official Kao Ming-tsun (高銘村) said that its assessments showed that the ads on the pact would attract about 18 million readers, and questionnaires completed at the forums showed that 75 percent of attendees said they knew about the pact.