Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) yesterday said he hoped the Legislative Yuan would handle the service trade agreement with China at the same time as it considers legislation on monitoring cross-strait agreements, warning that any further delay of the pact would hurt the economy.
Speaking during a hearing at the legislature’s Economics Committee, Chang said the stalling of the pact would affect cross-strait negotiations on the trade-in-goods agreement and hamper progress in trade relations between the two countries.
It would also block Taiwan’s efforts to take part in regional economic integration, he said, adding that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership “will not wait for Taiwan.”
National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said that at a time when major countries around the world were accelerating their push for regional economic integration, any delay in the service trade pact would affect Taiwan’s future development and the nation’s credibility in negotiating international agreements.
The two ministers were responding to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) statement on Sunday, when he promised that he would not preside over any more interparty negotiations about the service trade pact until a bill on scrutinizing cross-strait pacts is passed.
The move is largely in line with demands from student-led protesters who have been occupying the legislature’s main chamber since March 18. They want the pact to be shelved until the enactment of a law mandating full oversight of cross-strait agreements.
Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi said the council respects the legislature’s decision.
However, he expressed disagreement with a version of the oversight bill that was proposed by activists opposed to the service trade pact, saying that if it was adopted, it would bar the signing of future cross-strait agreements and cause cross-strait ties to come to a standstill and even move backward.