The organization and leadership of a proposed cross-strait economic cooperation committee are expected to be determined within two days, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠) said on Sunday.
The committee to be established under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that Taipei and Beijing signed in June will serve as a platform to facilitate negotiations on arrangements for the ECFA and their implementation.
Taiwan and China have still to come to terms on the organization and leadership of the committee, which, according to the terms of the ECFA, will operate under the framework of the already existing Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on the Taipei side and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS). It will be solely responsible for post-ECFA negotiations on technical issues.
Lin said he would depart for China on Thursday, along with SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), mainly to visit the Shanghai Expo and to meet with Taiwanese businesspeople operating in the Kunshan City area for talks.
On whether he and Chiang would meet Chinese officials for talks on the committee’s establishment and the signing of a cross-strait investment guarantee agreement during the upcoming visit, Lin said that was still uncertain.
“It is up to the Mainland Affairs Council [MAC] to decide,” Lin said.
On the leadership of the proposed committee, he said it would be “reasonable” if Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Liang (梁國新) were designated to lead the Taiwan liaison officers on the formation of the committee, while the Chinese side could be led by Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei (姜增偉).
Liang and Jiang led the two sides respectively at cross-strait talks in Chongqing prior to the June 29 signing of the ECFA.
Ministry of Economic Affairs sources have also speculated that Liang and Jiang could be the top liaison officers for the two sides on the committee.
Meanwhile, Chiang is scheduled to meet ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in Shanghai on Saturday, marking the first high-level meeting since the ECFA formally took effect on Sunday.
The committee is expected to meet first on sub-agreements under the ECFA — on merchandise, services and investment and trade dispute resolution — he said.
As a post-ECFA opinion and information-exchanging platform, the committee will have no fixed personnel and the two sides will assign different officials for different rounds of talks based on their expertise in the issues at hand, the MAC said.