The legislative caucuses yesterday reached a consensus to conduct an item-by-item review of a cross-strait service trade pact to decide whether to approve the agreement.
The caucus whips of all parties signed a paper saying that the service trade agreement between Taiwan and China, signed on Friday last week in Shanghai, will not take effect without being ratified by the legislature.
Against the government’s wishes — that the legislature review and vote on the agreement as a whole — the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus conceded to the demand by their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) counterparts that each provision be voted on separately.
The agreement, under which China will open 80 of its service sectors to Taiwanese investors while Taiwan will open 64 sectors, contains 24 articles and sector-specific commitments, ranging from commerce, telecommunications, construction and distribution to the environment, health, tourism, entertainment, culture, sports, transportation and finance.
TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said that the agreement was more likely to be rejected by the legislature if each provision was put to a separate vote than if the agreement were voted on as a whole.
If the agreement is voted on as a whole, people whose livelihoods may be affected by the pact will see their opposition to the agreement overridden by those who favor it because the latter will push lawmakers to ratify the pact, Hsu said.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chein-ming (柯建銘) said that if any of the provisions or commitments covered under the agreement were rejected by the legislature, the whole agreement would be annulled.
That would mean cross-strait negotiations over the opening of the service sector will have to “start from scratch,” Ker said.
Citing 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), the government has said that the agreement does not require legislative approval to become effective. However, it has also said that it would respect the legislature’s rights of rectification.
On Saturday, when asked whether the government would renegotiate with China if part of the agreement were rejected by the legislature, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) only said that any revisions made by the legislature would make it difficult to implement the pact.
He urged the legislature to deal with the service trade pact the same way it handled the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) three years ago.
In August 2010, when the ECFA was reviewed by the legislature, the DPP proposed 18 counterproposals to revise the name, preamble and all provisions under the ECFA, but they were all voted down by the KMT.
The KMT then proposed a motion that the ECFA be voted on as a whole. DPP lawmakers boycotted the vote and the ECFA was ratified by the legislature.
The council did not respond yesterday to the latest legislative decision regarding the review of the services pact.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that