Service pact signed
before assessments done
By Lee Yu-hsin and Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) accused President
Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration of signing the controversial cross-strait
service trade agreement with China “with its eyes closed,” citing five
government agencies’ assessment reports on the treaty’s economic impacts that
were completed only after the accord was inked in June.
During cross-strait negotiations on the treaty, the government entrusted six
government agencies with assessing the agreement’s potential impacts on the
nation’s economy and workers: the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Ministry
of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Ministry of Culture, the Financial Supervisory
Commission, the Council of Agriculture and the Council of Labor Affairs, Hsu
said on Sunday.
“Only two of the Mainland Affairs Council’s three externally commissioned
assessment reports were concluded before the inking of the treaty, both in
February,” Hsu said.
Hsu said the last was an analysis of the opening of cross-strait service sectors
in terms of defensive strategies, which was commissioned to the Commerce
Development Research Institute in July last year for a fee of NT$3 million
(US$101,000), but was not yet finished.
As for the MOEA, Hsu said its Bureau of Foreign Trade’s externally commissioned
evaluation report on the agreement’s potential impacts on the nation’s overall
economy and industrial developments was completed in July, while the assessment
report on the potential impacts of trade liberalization on the country’s
financial service sector commissioned by the ministry’s Department of Commerce
was not finished until earlier this month.
Hsu said the reports by the other four agencies were all completed after the
treaty’s signing on June 21.
“Inking a trade agreement with China when there were only two impact assessment
reports to refer to was like signing the treaty with our eyes closed. The Ma
administration’s handling of the matter has made the nation’s service sectors
and workers vulnerable to the threat of Chinese capital, and a treaty inked
without a legitimate and rational foundation must not be ratified,” Hsu said.
Hsu said the TSU would not let even one of the agreement’s clauses clear the
legislature and had planned to mobilize supporters to rally outside the
legislature when the accord was being reviewed item-by-item as a warning to
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers not to disregard the will of the
The treaty, which is still pending approval by the legislature, has been the
subject of widespread criticism from representatives of concerned service
sectors, civic groups and opposition parties due to what they describe as a lack
of transparency in the agreement’s negotiation and signing processes.
They have labeled the treaty a “back-room deal” between the KMT and the Chinese
Communist Party and have demanded it be renegotiated.