President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he regrets that the cross-strait service trade agreement signed nine months ago is still stalled in the legislature and he is worried the delay could hurt Taiwan’s credibility in the international community.
“We will be unable to take the consequences,” Ma said, adding that the delay could lead to other trading partners to question Taiwan’s sincerity in pushing for trade liberalization.
Legislative committees began a joint review of the pact on Wednesday, but amid scuffles between lawmakers, no progress was made.
More confrontations are expected when the legislature continues the review next week.
Ma said that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 has proven a great boost to Taiwan, but added that the pact only covers a small number of goods. Items covered by the agreement have shown growth despite the sluggish economy, and some businesses would not have survived without the deal, he said.
The government is hoping to complete a commodity trade pact this year, but if the service trade deal does not clear the legislature soon, the commodity trade pact would be affected, he said.
Taiwan must reform and open up in areas in which it does not have to rely on others to become more competitive, he said.
Ma said that trade with New Zealand has increase 73 percent since a bilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed with the country last year.
“No matter whether we like it or not” the cruel fact is that Taiwan relies on exports for 70 percent of its economic growth and unemployment will result if exports are poor, he said.
Meanwhile, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said he hoped Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and opposition lawmakers could sit down to exchange views on the service trade deal, although it would be difficult.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for