Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - Page 14 News List

CNFI to hold conferences on trade pact with China

Staff writer, with CNA

A major business association in Taiwan yesterday said that it will hold a series of meetings in a bid to improve local understanding about a trade in goods pact to be signed with China.

Before the end of the month, the Taipei-based Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) will invite government officials and industry representatives to meet in the conferences for businesses to learn more about the pact’s expected impact.

The association is planning 14 more meetings after the Lunar New Year holiday to focus on the impact on individual industries. Taiwan and China are in talks over the trade-in-goods pact, which is being described as a step forward for cross-strait business ties following the signing of a service trade agreement in June last year.

Both major agreements are built on the “Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement” (ECFA) inked in 2010. Although already signed, the service trade pact has not yet been approved by the Legislative Yuan because of strong resistance from opposition lawmakers and some industries and academics who fear that opening the economy to China will cost Taiwanese workers their jobs.

CNFI secretary-general Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生) said that the ECFA is only a framework for cross-strait economic exchanges, and both sides need agreements to build stronger business ties on it.

Tsai said that South Korea, which largely competes with Taiwan in its exports, is working toward a free-trade agreement with China, meaning a loss of competitiveness for Taiwanese exporters if Taipei lags behind in its agreements with Beijing.

Since cross-strait business ties are a sensitive topic, local business leaders need more information about the trade-in-goods pact to assess its potential impact, he said, adding that the CNFI sessions will provide a good channel of communication between government and industries.

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