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Communication, education needed on trade pact dispute: Ma
Central News Agency
2014-04-09 10:59 PM
Taipei, April 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou told U.S. experts Wednesday that his administration will step up communication over the trade-in-services agreement at the center of weeks of protest and counter-protests in the capital. Speaking in English in a video conference with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ma stressed the importance of the pact for Taiwan's robust service industry, as China is its biggest trade partner. The president said he will try to make the Legislature pass the pact to complete the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China. Taiwanese people have an "inexplicable fear" when dealing with China, he asserted, referring to the ongoing dispute over the pact, which was signed last June and has been stalled at the Legislature amid partisan feuding and, more recently, disruptive protests. There was no such opposition to Taiwan's signing of trade agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, he noted. Market liberalization is what Taiwan needs to do to keep in line with the global trend, he said, saying the trade pact with China helps prove Taiwan's determination to join regional economic blocs. "I'm sure more and more people will understand," Ma added. The president said that his administration is diversifying its trade markets by expanding ties with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but "it takes time and cannot happen overnight." As for a new bill demanded by protesters to give closer oversight to trade pacts with China, Ma said that ensuring those pacts are in Taiwan's interest can help promote peace and prosperity. The student-led protesters have ground legislative proceedings to a halt since they began their movement three weeks ago. Protesters announced April 7 that they would leave the Legislature April 10 after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng pledged not to review the trade-in-services pact until a law overseeing agreements between Taiwan and China is passed. (By Elaine Hou and James Lee)
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