Sat, Mar 09, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Services sector trade agreement on the cards: Lin

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan and China are expected to complete negotiations on liberalizing trade in services across the Taiwan Strait soon, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) said yesterday.

Talks on a possible cross-strait services agreement were scheduled to finish last year, but experienced delays due to the complexity of the issue.

Opening access to service companies was one of the priorities in follow-up negotiations on the bilateral Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

At celebrations for the 22th anniversary of the foundation yesterday, Lin said the negotiations on the services sector are in their final stages, and are likely to be completed soon.

Talks on further liberalizing trade in merchandise under the ECFA were also going smoothly, he said.

In order to strengthen cross-strait relations, the foundation and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), have reached a consensus on setting up reciprocal offices, Lin said.

April 29 will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic talks between former SEF chairman Koo Cheng-fu (辜振甫) and his Chinese counterpart, then-ARATS chairman Wang Daohan (汪道涵).

The SEF plans to organize a memorial event to commemorate the talks and invite members of Koo’s and Wang’s families to participate, Lin added.

Koo, who passed away in 2005, became a significant figure in cross-strait relations after his talks with Wang in 1993.

The 1993 talks, held in Singapore, resulted in the signing of four agreements establishing a formal cross-strait relationship.

A second round of talks was held in 1998 in Shanghai and a third round was scheduled for Taipei, but was later called off by China to protest then-president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) characterization of cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state relationship.”

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