Tue, Jan 19, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Trade-in-goods pact talks halted for now: MOEA

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will suspend talks with China over the controversial cross-strait trade in goods agreement before a new Cabinet is formed, Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng (鄧振中) said yesterday.

“We have to respect the opinions of the country’s new leader… The ministry plans to put on hold to any ongoing trade-related policies and negotiations with Beijing before the situation with the new government is clear,” Deng told reporters at the Executive Yuan after the Cabinet’s resigned en masse.

Although President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has not approved Premier Mao Chi-kuo’s (毛治國) resignation, Deng said the ministry would not push any major or new policies after the resignation, which includes negotiations over the goods pact, and it is hard to say when negotiations would resume.

“We may have to wait until the new government takes office on May 20, or even after the new legislators pass an act supervising the cross-strait agreements,” he said.

The ministry will inform China about the delay via the Mainland Affairs Council, he said.

The two sides originally planned to host a 13th round of the talks last month, but the negotiations were postponed due to differences on tariff reductions.

Deng said the ministry does not have a time frame, or stance on whether to lift the ban on Chinese investments in local integrated-circuit design companies, adding that the issue is now up to the newly elected legislators.

The Industrial Development Bureau is working on an evaluation report on the issue and plans to hold a public hearing before sending the report to the legislature.

However, the review of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) application to build a new 12-inch wafer factory in China would not be affected because the government has lifted the ban on local chipmakers investing in such factories, he said.

The Investment Commission is likely to review the TSMC project before the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin on Feb. 6, commission Executive Secretary Emile Chang (張銘斌) said.

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