Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Talks on ECFA submission ongoing: MOEA

‘BEST TIMING’:The ECFA took effect on Sept. 12 last year, yet the government said it was still consulting Beijing on when to submit the trade document to the WTO

By Ko Shu-ling and J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporters

The 539 categories of traded goods included in the early harvest list account for about 16 percent of China-bound exports.

“[The] ECFA might eventually meet this standard, but that is to be decided, since it is a work in progress,” Sally said.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) has said the English version would be sent to the WTO after the “supporting measures” of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (CSECC) were completed.

While the notification process usually takes more than a year, Shih said he hoped this could be accomplished as soon as possible.

The ECFA stipulates that once the trade pact takes effect, the two sides are to set up a cross-strait economic cooperation committee, and within six months initiate discussions on agreements on investment protection, commodity and service trades, as well as a dispute--resolution mechanism.

Taipei and Beijing formed the ad hoc CSECC earlier this month. Aside from negotiations, the purpose of the committee is to handle implementation, application and interpretation of the agreement or disputes resulting from it.

Under early harvest provisions, China has agreed to gradually lower tariffs on 539 categories of imports, with an estimated value of US$13.8 billion a year. Beijing also agreed to open 11 service categories and 18 farming and fishery categories to tariff reductions.

For their part, Chinese exporters will get a reciprocal deal on 267 items, with an estimated value of US$2.9 billion annually.

The administration has said the ECFA would help create 260,000 jobs and boost economic growth by as much as 1.7 percent, adding that the ECFA was crucial to ensure Taiwan was not marginalized following the entry into force of the ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea).

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