The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) does not have any immediate plan for — nor is it authorized to — discuss the establishment of an office in China or vice versa, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said yesterday.
Chiang said the Act Governing Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) stipulates that any Chinese non-profit body, corporation, organization or other institution must obtain permission from the relevant supervisory body in Taiwan if they want to establish an office or branch organization here.
So far, the SEF has not been authorized by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to discuss any such arrangement with its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Chiang said.
As for setting up a new working panel of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC), Chiang said the matter would be negotiated by the ECC.
The purpose of the ECC is to handle negotiation, implementation, application and interpretation of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) or disputes arising from it.
The committee, which met for the first time in Taoyuan on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, will initiate discussions on agreements on investment protection, commodity trade, service trade and a dispute resolution mechanism as stipulated in the ECFA.
Taiwan hopes to establish a working panel under the committee to address bilateral industrial collaboration to help Taiwan’s firms seize opportunities in the Chinese market before China launches its 12th Five-Year Plan in the second half of this year.
Regarding speculation that the next round of cross-strait talks between Chiang and ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) might take place in Taiwan, MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) yesterday said it was still too early to tell because the SEF and ARATS had not yet discussed the matter.
Liu added there was no timetable set for the return of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects deported from the Philippines to China because investigations take time.
“We want not only the 14 suspects, but also evidence of their crimes,” Liu said.
However, this might not be easy to achieve because some of the suspects have complained that certain “equipment” connected to the crime was seized by Philippine officials.
Since Taipei and Beijing have signed an agreement on joint efforts to combat crime, Liu said he hoped both sides could sit down and talk about cross--border crime and how the two sides should deal with crimes committed in a third country.
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