Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) yesterday distanced herself from cross-strait negotiations on the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), saying both sides have yet to finalize “early harvest” items.
Saying the two sides are still in the preparation stage, Lai said that it was too early to talk about the planned accord and that she believed government agencies would conduct careful assessments about the issue.
Regarding market access for financial services, Lai said the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) would make the “appropriate arrangements” in accordance with the financial cooperation agreement the two sides signed in June.
Lai made the remarks in response to questions about a report published by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper). The paper said government agencies are not consistent on whether financial services would be included in the ECFA “early harvest” list.
The report said that while MAC Deputy Minister Kao Charng (高長) said on Tuesday that market access for financial services would not be included on the “early harvest” list, FSC Vice Chairwoman Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) said it would.
Kao later said, however, that he misspoke and corrected himself, asking the media to refer to Lee’s remarks.
In related news, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday downplayed the country being replaced by China as the world’s No. 3 personal computer maker, saying manufacturers move to China to make the products but they still receive orders in Taiwan.
“In terms of notebook computers, 92 percent of them come from Taiwan,” he said. “They are not made in Taiwan, but they are made by Taiwanese.”
Ma made the remarks while meeting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, Yang Ruey-tzong (楊瑞宗), chief of the Third Directorate of the Executive Yuan, will assume his new job as the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association’s (TSTA) representative in Beijing before the Lunar New Year.
The TSTA will be the country’s first representative office established in China. It is a quasi-official organization representing the nation in negotiations on cross-strait tourism affairs. Its counterpart in China is the Cross Strait Tourism Association.
Yang’s first and primary task would be to increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan. He will also communicate with China on cross-strait tourism issues.
Lai yesterday said that Chinese tourists have generated NT$32 billion (US$1 billion) in revenues since July last year and the number has remained stable thanks to continuous examinations and adjustments of the policy via bilateral negotiations. MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said that although they had repeatedly asked Beijing to allow Chinese visitors to go on individual tours here, they had not received a positive response.
While outlying islands such as Kinmen and Matsu have expressed interest in establishing representative offices in China, Liu raised the question of their status, saying that the official title for Kinmen is Kinmen County, Fujian Province, the Republic of China.