Fri, Feb 17, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MAC responds to criticism over notification failure

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Wednesday said it would discuss any planned visits by senior Chinese representatives with local governments, in view of criticism over its failure to do so.

Saying that some municipal or county governments had not been informed of the current visit by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中), the council said it would talk to the agencies in the future, although this was not required by law.

The think tank that invited the Zheng delegation followed the -relevant regulations, which stipulate that the guests must be accompanied by representatives of the host institution for the duration of their stay in Taiwan, the council said.

Zheng and a delegation of ARATS staff members are visiting Taiwan for two weeks at the invitation of the National Policy Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank. Zheng’s itinerary is similar to the one he followed during a visit last year, according to the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation.

The No. 2 Chinese negotiator with Taiwan visited the south from Sunday to Wednesday to study the agriculture and aquaculture industries there. On his arrival in Chiayi County on Wednesday, Zheng said the various opinions of local farmers would serve as a basis for increased agricultural trade between Taiwan and China.

The two sides are aiming to increase trade exchanges through normal channels and negotiations, Zheng said during a visit to a peanut processing plant, a tomato greenhouse and a fish market.

In terms of bilateral purchases of agricultural and aquaculture products, the council said cross-strait inspection and quarantine systems would be set up soon.

Taiwan’s agricultural sector has been trying to tap into the large Chinese market. The Pingtung County government said on Wednesday that fruits such as wax apples and jujubes are being shipped weekly to China, where they have been selling well. China has been a key export destination, but shipments to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong have also been on the rise, the county government said.

More than 200 tonnes of Pingtung fruit, worth more than NT$5 million (US$169,000), were exported to China during the Lunar New Year holiday, according to the county’s agriculture department.

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