With the legislature set to review a controversial service trade agreement with China during the current session, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was aiming to force a renegotiation of the accord.
DPP officials and legislators set down four principles to guide the review during a weekly meeting between party headquarters and the legislative caucus for discussions of major policies.
The four principles are: reciprocal market opening, fair competition, public livelihood and national security, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
While the DPP has always supported free trade, China is a special case because of the political implications and the differences in the two countries’ economic systems and market sizes, Lin quoted DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying, adding that both sides had made different pledges upon their accession to the WTO in 2002, with Taiwan opening up 58 percent of its market while China only opened 37 percent.
Liberalization as listed in the agreement is not reciprocal as far as cross-border trade in services and commercial presence is concerned, which constitutes unfair competition, Lin said.
For example, China would limit Taiwanese investment in Fujian Province to certain sectors, while Taiwan would not place restrictions on Chinese investment in the service sector, Lin said.
Service sectors that are likely to suffer a severe impact from the agreement and those that are related to national security, information security and freedom of speech also require extra protection, the DPP said.
According to an inter-party negotiation in June last year, the service trade agreement is to be screened in the legislature clause-by-clause after a series of public hearings are held.
With the last public hearing scheduled to be held next week, Su urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to respect the results of inter-party negotiations and mainstream public opinion, despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call for a speedy screening and passage of the agreement.
The DPP also urged the KMT to stop blocking several legislative proposals on cross-strait agreement monitoring and supervision of Chinese investment in the legislature’s Procedure Committee as they are designed to serve as legal safeguards for cross-strait dealings in the future.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) reiterated that the DPP caucus would not allow the KMT to push through the screening and approval of the cross-strait deal by the conclusion of the current session.
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
ENFORCING CAUTION: Certain entertainment facilities are to close nationwide to prevent people traveling there from high-risk areas in the north, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert for Taipei and New Taipei City to level 3 in light of surging cases in the two cities. The enhanced disease prevention measures for level 3 are to be implemented until May 28, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a morning news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. With 180 locally transmitted cases confirmed yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the government must take immediate action to protect the public, referring to measures stipulated in the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法). Other counties
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