Signing an agreement on investment protection and establishing a dispute-resolution mechanism with China would top the agenda of the next round of high-level cross-strait talks scheduled for the first half of this year, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said yesterday.
Chiang said the issues being negotiated in cross-strait talks have become more difficult. The foundation will continue to negotiate with the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) under a principle that prioritizes the interests of Taiwanese and tackles the easier or more urgent and economic issues before more difficult or less pressing and political ones.
The negotiations for the two deals will be handled by the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (CSECC). Taipei and Beijing formed the committee last month and hoped it would meet for the first time after the Lunar New Year holiday, a few days before ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visits Taiwan.
At the same setting yesterday, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said the establishment of trade offices on each side of the Taiwan Strait and a negotiation platform would be placed on the CSECC’s agenda in the future.
On the possibility of signing a free-trade agreement with Singapore, Shih said Taipei and Singapore agreed that such a proposal is feasible and would begin negotiations in the near future.
Apart from China and Singapore, Shih said the administration also hoped to explore the possibility of signing similar trade deals with the EU, US, Japan and South Korea.