Ma calls for faster
review of service trade agreement
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff reporter
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called for the legislative review of the
cross-strait service trade agreement to be sped up while meeting with heads of
the administrative branches, and said the government would start negotiations
with China on trade in goods as the next step of cross-strait economic
“Foreign businesses in Taiwan and our neighboring nations are concerned about
our determination and sincerity in handling the agreement. The Legislative Yuan
should let the pact enter the review process as soon as possible,” Ma said.
Ma made the remarks in a meeting with top officials from the Executive Yuan,
Legislative Yuan, Control Yuan, Examination Yuan and Judicial Yuan at the
Presidential Office to discuss national affairs.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) took a leave of absence to attend his
brother’s funeral. Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) attended the
meeting on his behalf.
The passage of the agreement has been stalled since it was signed in June as the
Legislative Yuan continues to organize public hearings and seek consensus on the
The transparency of the service trade agreement has been challenged by the
opposition camp, and the service industry is concerned about what it says will
be negative repercussions of the pact on business opportunities in Taiwan.
Ma’s urge for the approval of the agreement comes during the visit of China’s
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming
Meanwhile, the president defended the government’s efforts to strengthen
diplomatic ties with allied nations in light of the Gambia’s decision to end
diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
“We should not deny the achievements of the flexible diplomacy policy over the
past five years because of this one case. We have consolidated our friendships
with allied nations and expanded our international space,” he said.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh made an abrupt announcement earlier this month of
a break of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
He denied that China was the reason behind his decision and insisted that it was
made in the Gambia’s strategic national interests.
Taiwan terminated its ties with the Gambia on Nov. 18.