Tue, Jun 15, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Talks end with no 'early harvest' list

DUBIOUS OFFER DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen said if an ECFA was as good as the government said, 'then we have to wonder why China is willing to give us so much'

By Ko Shu-ling, Jason Tan, Shih Hsiu-chuan, Vincent Y. Chao and  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Both countries have reached a consensus to include more than 500 items on Taiwan’s early harvest list — including petrochemicals, machinery, auto parts and textile industries — as well as more than 200 on China’s list.

HARVEST LIST

Other items on Taiwan’s list include plastics, agriculture, stocks and bonds, as well as traditional industries, such as underwear, socks, bags and luggage, Duh said.

Ministry sources said an agreement was reached to scrap a prevailing business model under which Taiwanese firms have to find Chinese partners to offer medical care, PC retailing services and airline cargo services in China.

NO VENTURES

The joint venture model would no longer be necessary, as Taiwanese firms would be allowed to take up a 100 percent stake in businesses across the Strait.

The combined value of Taiwan’s early harvest list would exceed US$10 billion, or more than 10 percent of the nation’s total China-bound exports of US$80 billion last year, the ministry said.

On China’s side, it would account for 6 percent, or US$2 billion, of last year’s exports to Taiwan.

RAW MATERIALS

Items proposed by China include raw materials that are scarce in Taiwan, such as chemicals, Duh said, without elaborating.

The ministry also defended the decision that automobiles, which initially were to be included in the early harvest list proposed by Taiwan, would not be included in the final list.

The transportation sector is partially included in Taiwan’s final list, such as auto components, bicycles and bicycle components, but not automobiles.

“Completing discussions on the automobile sector before an ECFA is signed would be difficult, given the complexity,” the ministry said.

RESERVATIONS

Meanwhile, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said Taiwan would continue to work for the inclusion of certain petrochemicals and machinery on a list of products eligible for lower tariffs under an ECFA.

China has reservations about Taiwan’s requests to include polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene, as well as digital control machine tools because of concerns of the impact on key industries, Wu said.

The negotiations over the list were stuck partly because Chinese petrochemical manufacturers — most of which are state-owned enterprises — strongly oppose tariff cuts or waivers for their Taiwanese rivals, Wu said, adding that China also has a strong disinclination to open its markets to Taiwanese digital control machine tools.

Also See: Taiwanese shares close up 1.20% amid ECFA hopes

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