The new Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (CSECC) hopes to meet for the first time after the Lunar New Year holiday, a few days before China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visits Taiwan, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said yesterday.
Chiang said Chen had expressed his wish to travel to southern Taiwan during his trip at the end of this month. The south is considered more sympathetic to the Democratic Progressive Party.
As for the exact date and itinerary of Chen’s visit, Chiang said those details would most likely be finalized after the Lunar New Year.
While Chen’s previous visits to Taiwan have been to meet with Chiang, as well as do some sightseeing, this trip will be the first time that the main purpose of Chen’s visit was not directly related to cross-strait meetings.
Chiang said Chen would travel with ARATS board members, who hoped to better understand the investment opportunities available throughout Taiwan. While the length of Chen’s trip is expected to be contingent on the places that he wants to visit, Chiang said he did not think the visit would last more than six days.
As Chen’s visits usually attract media attention, Chiang said the foundation hoped the first meeting of the CSECC — whose location and timing also have yet to be determined — would take place earlier than Chen’s visit.
At a different setting yesterday afternoon, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said the council hoped the CSECC would meet at the end of this month or early next month because Chen was expected to be busy attending meetings in China early next month.
Liu was referring to the Chinese People’s Political -Consultative Conference on March 3 and National People’s Congress on March 5.
Taipei and Beijing formed the ad hoc CSECC last month. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), signed in June last year, stipulated that once the trade pact took effect, the two sides were to set up a cross-strait economic cooperation committee and within six months initiate discussions about agreements on investment protection, commodity and service industries, as well as a dispute-resolution mechanism.
Aside from negotiations, the purpose of the committee is to handle the implementation, application and interpretation of the ECFA or disputes resulting from it.
The ECFA came into force on Sept. 12 and its “early harvest” list on Jan. 1.
The early harvest list, which forms the backbone of the deal, refers to a list of goods and services that will be subject to immediate tariff concessions or exemptions.