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Speaker upbeat about two bills clearing legislative floor

2012/07/24 22:38:38

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Tuesday that he expected two major bills -- one on a capital gains tax and the other on lifting a ban on imports of U.S. beef containing ractopamine -- will be passed during the current extraordinary legislative session.

Wang made the comments after chairing a multi-party consultation over the agenda for the coming three days, when lawmakers are supposed to tackle a government-initiated draft amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, along with a Cabinet proposal to levy tax on profits from securities trading.

The government has been trying to amend the food safety act, which bans imports of beef containing leanness-enhancing drugs such as ractopamine, to allow imports of beef that contains levels of the drugs deemed to be safe.

The U.S. has suspended trade and investment talks with Taiwan because of the dispute over the beef issue.

The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) plans to pass a resolution on separating imports of beef and pork, while the the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has demanded that the amended law clearly bans pork imports tainted with leanness enhancers.

Pan Men-an, a DPP legislative caucus whip, said his party has proposed a stricter "allowable level" of livestock drugs in meat products. For example, he said, no leanness-enhancers, including ractopamine, should be detectable in imported poultry or animal products, internal organs, marrow or ground meat.

Lin Hung-chih, KMT caucus whip, said lawmakers will look at both the DPP proposal and the KMT version of the amendments to the act.

Wang said that both the food safety bill and the capital gains tax plan will likely clear the legislative floor because of the KMT's legislative majority. The KMT holds 64 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan.

If the opposition parties make a motion to have a vote of no-confidence against the Cabinet led by Premier Sean Chen, Wang said that "we will probably decline to handle the case" and ask the opposition to seek to hold the vote at some other time.

The extraordinary session is being called to tackle "specific" cases such as the amendments to the food safety act and the capital gains tax issue, Wang said.

If the DPP insists on launching a no-confidence vote on the Cabinet, it can make a motion to call another session for that purpose, he added.

Also on the session's agenda, which lasts until Friday, is a vote on the government's nominations of four members for the National Communications Commission (NCC).

(By Ho Meng-kui, Chen Wei-ting and S.C. Chang)