Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

SEF, ARATS pledge trade expansion

Staff writer, with CNA

Senior officials from Taiwan and China yesterday pledged to expand trade during a meeting between the two nations in Taipei in preparation for the next round of high-level talks, during which a service trade agreement is expected to be signed.

The deputy heads of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) said it is an ideal time for a service trade agreement.

As both nations are eager to develop their service sectors, they could complement each other and jointly expand their markets, SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said.

Kao said that last year the service industry’s share of GDP in Taiwan and China accounted for 72 percent and 44.6 percent respectively, which shows the countries are in different stages of development and well positioned for separate niche markets.

Taiwan could tap into China’s massive market, and Chinese customers could experience Taiwan’s high-quality e-commerce, travel and healthcare services, Kao added.

“A message is being sent to the world that Taiwan and China aim to further liberalize cross-strait exchanges,” Kao said.

Both sides should work together to join the multinational trade groups the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to further integrate into the regional economy, he said.

The Taiwanese government is prepared for any downside the agreement could bring to the domestic service sector, although officials have said the impact would be small, Kao said.

ARATS Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) said that common interests have emerged between Taiwanese and Chinese investors, and the trade pact would create more opportunities for cross-strait cooperation.

“We believe the agreement will benefit the service sectors on both sides and contribute to a flourishing market,” said Zheng, who arrived in Taiwan around noon and is to return to China today.

The three-hour preparatory meet at SEF’s headquarters is expected to conclude with a final text of the service trade agreement, which would be signed by SEF Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) and his ARATS counterpart, Chen Deming (陳德銘).

The Lin-Chen talks are due to be held in Shanghai on Friday and Saturday next week.

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