Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said the two principal problems stalling negotiations on an investment protection pact ahead of the upcoming sixth round of cross-strait talks were differences of opinion on mechanisms to protect Taiwanese investment from expropriation and ensuring the safety of Taiwanese businesspeople.
“Personal safety and expropriation of property are the two issues of most concern to Taiwan. We maintain that when disputes arise, such cases should be submitted for international arbitration or international litigation [at the WTO], but the Chinese side does not agree,” Wu said. “We still need to work this out.”
A Chinese delegation headed by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) is expected to arrive in Taipei later this month to hold negotiations with the Straits Exchange Foundation on an investment protection agreement and another on medical and health cooperation.
On Monday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council, which would not confirm information that the next round of cross-strait talks would be held from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, said the agreement on investment protection was unlikely to be signed during that round, citing the complexity of the matter as well as a lack of time.
“We will not sign the agreement just because we want to get it done this time,” Wu said. “If a consensus can be reached to achieve our goals, we will sign it. If difficulties exist that cannot be resolved overnight, we would like to spend more time in consultations.”
Regarding the agreement on medical and health cooperation, the premier said that while the matter would be discussed during the talks, there was also a lack of consensus on certain issues.
Wu said some standard methods for the examination of health and medical products in China were not in line with international standards, as its medicine and biochemistry industry were still developing.
“There are many things to be talked about. Let’s go back to what I said. Issues to be negotiated in the future are getting increasingly complicated and difficult to resolve. We need to be more patient. We started with easier matters and now each issue to be negotiated will require greater effort,” Wu said.