Sat, Jul 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

TPFA trip appears OK thus far: MAC

STILL INVESTIGATING A top council official said that according to the association's report to the Council of Agriculture, no deals were made during the China visit

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A trip by the Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association (TPFA) to China to discuss fruits exports does not appear to have violated the law, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday.

You based his conclusion on the verbal explanation TPFA's president made to the Council of Agriculture (COA) on Thursday.

Liu Chuan-chung (劉銓忠), who is also a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker, told the council that his group had not reached any consensus with China.

Liu led an association delegation to China on June 22 to negotiate with Chinese authorities about fruit exports.

Media reports that the delegation had reached a consensus with Association for Economic and Trade Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait, a Beijing-based semi-official institution, on the certification of origin and quarantine had prompted an outcry.

The association told the council that it had not reached any consensus or signed any deal with Chinese representatives related to government affairs.

"Liu told the Chinese representatives that the Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association is unable to undertake the tasks of issuing certificates of origin or establishing quarantine procedures," You said, adding that he got the information from the COA.

According to the council, "Liu also told the Chinese delegates that these kinds of tasks should be undertaken by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) rather then the TPFA as TAITRA has been commissioned to hold talks about fruit," You said.

Based on Liu's explanation to the council, the TPFA understands that Taiwantrade is the only institution with the authority to discuss fruits exports with Chinese officials or representatives, You said.

"So far, TPFA's trip to China is not considered a violation of the law," You said, adding that the council would continue to investigate the trip to see if what Liu told the council was true.

During his press conference yesterday, You also expressed his deep misgivings about the retreat of democracy and freedom in Hong Kong, commenting on the annual pro-democracy march to mark the anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty,

"We would like to appeal to Chinese authorities to take the march seriously. Although the turnout for this year's march was low compared to three years ago -- about 500,000 participants -- it is also of great significance for 50,00 to 60,000 people to take to the streets to fight for democracy," You said.

"We are concerned about the lower turnout. It might mean that Hong Kong's people are less concerned or disappointed about their democracy and freedom under Chinese rule," he said.

"Like other countries, we would like to urge the Chinese authorities to make good on their promises to Hong Kong," he said.

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