A second round of negotiations on a proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China is expected to open in Taipei on March 29, government sources said yesterday.
The sources said Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei (姜增偉) was scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Thursday with Tang Wei (唐煒), head of the Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau under China’s Ministry of Commerce, who is in charge of ECFA talks with Taiwan.
Jiang and Tang will travel to southern Taiwan the following day to meet local business heavyweights, the sources said.
The duo are the top Chinese officials tasked with handling the ECFA talks and they serve as honorary president and vice president of the Association of Economy and Trade Across the Taiwan Strait (AETATS), an intermediary body set up by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the sources said.
The top priority of the second round of ECFA talks will be determining the list of industries to be included in the “early harvest” program for tariff concessions, the sources said.
Petrochemical, machinery, textile and display panel industries will be put on the “early harvest” list, the sources said.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said earlier this month that the two sides would formally exchange written “early harvest” lists after one or two rounds of talks and that such a move would herald the approach of the signing of the trade pact.
Jiang has been invited by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, a quasi-official trade promotion body, to attend a seminar on branding scheduled for Friday.
Jiang will be accompanied by an AETATS delegation and will lead it on visits to major channel operators and retailers, the sources said. The first round of ECFA negotiations were held in Beijing on Jan. 26.