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KMT agrees to return service trade pact to committees
Central News Agency
2014-03-27 10:44 AM
Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers offered a concession Thursday that it hopes will resolve the current legislative stalemate over a trade-in-services agreement with China. The KMT legislative caucus will agree to have the pact returned to the committee level for an item-by-item review, with certain prerequisites, caucus whip Lin Hung-chih said. The principal one is that the review should be conducted by a full committee presided over by Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, Lin said. Another condition calls for an end to the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party's "obstructionist" position toward the agreement. The DPP denied it is being obstructionist and called on the KMT to "face up to the public's views" about the pact. Lin said the KMT proposal would be presented for discussion with the DPP during inter-party consultations scheduled for later in the day. "The KMT caucus has made the first move by offering a concession. Now we will see if the DPP caucus is sincere in wanting to resolve the deadlock," he said. Lin did not address the opposition demand for a new legislation aimed at close monitoring of all cross-Taiwan Strait agreements.

The agreement, which was signed in June last year, has been stalled in the Legislative Yuan, mainly due to objections from the DPP-led opposition. During a March 17 joint session of the Legislature's eight standing committees to review the pact, the KMT legislator presiding over the meeting suddenly pushed the pact forward, declaring the conclusion of the review process at the committee level and sending the pact straight to a vote on the legislative floor. That declaration was overturned this week in a committee meeting this week attended only by DPP lawmakers. Until now, the KMT caucus had insisted on the validity of the March 17 meeting while saying it was prepared to accept a detailed review of the pact in floor sessions. The KMT's push for the agreement's passage in the legislature triggered strong protests from opponents of the trade-in-services agreement, and a group of student-led protesters have occupied the Legislature's main chamber since breaking into the building March 18. (By Lee Shu-hua and Y.F. Low)

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