Sat, Oct 29, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Trade office talks with China nearing end, minister says

Staff writer, with CNA, KUNSHAN, CHINA

The nation has been talking with China on establishing reciprocal trade offices and a conclusion is in sight, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) said yesterday on the sidelines of a meeting in Kunshan, China.

“The two sides have been in talks on the issue and are expected agree terms soon,” said Huang, who co-chaired a cross-Taiwan Strait industrial cooperation forum earlier in the day.

Asked whether the issue is on the agenda of the upcoming second meeting of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee, Huang said that meeting may not touch on the topic.

“However, the two sides will reach a conclusion on the exchange of trade representative offices in the near term,” Huang said.

However, only agencies that promote trade or other economic areas will be allowed to set up representative offices, he said.

Both Taiwan and China are keen to conclude the talks as soon as possible, he said, adding that setting up formal offices would facilitate bilateral trade promotion and economic cooperation.

Currently, the quasi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council maintains an office in Beijing. However, Huang said the council’s office is not a formal one.

“The office will become officially operational only after the agreement is sealed,” he said.

The Straits Exchange Foundation announced on Thursday that the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee, which was created under the bilateral Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), would hold its second regular meeting in Hangzhou, China, on Tuesday.

The agenda includes a progress review of the ECFA, including further tariff concessions and market opening measures, and industry and customs cooperation, the foundation said.

The committee’s first meeting took place in Taoyuan County in late February.

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