Tue, May 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Minister urges China to be ‘pragmatic’ on trade

Staff writer, with CNA, QINGDAO, China

Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) on Sunday said he has urged China to give “pragmatic responses” to key problems that are challenging the progress of talks on a proposed cross-strait service trade agreement.

Chang said he brought up the issue during his meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng (高虎城) on Friday, after his arrival in Qingdao for an annual APEC ministerial meeting.

Chang said that at the meeting he told Gao that the problems are mostly linked to the industrial sector, particularly businesses that produce petrochemicals, panels, automobiles and machine tools.

If China cannot give a full and pragmatic response, there is no chance Taiwan will sign the agreement, Chang told Gao.

Gao reportedly said that Chinese enterprises have a lot to say about China’s opening to Taiwan, and some are worried the deal would continue meeting similar roadblocks along the way.

The cross-strait service trade agreement was signed in June last year, but has not yet been endorsed by the nation’s lawmakers who worry about the impact on small local businesses and the job market.

Despite the concerns, Gao promised that China’s internal coordination would continue and he reiterated Beijing’s efforts to promote win-win cross-strait exchanges, Chang said.

However, Gao raised concerns about Taiwan’s draft bill on an oversight mechanism for cross-strait agreements, which is now under review in the legislature, Chang added.

Conveying Beijing’s stance on the issue, Gao said the draft act is seen as discriminatory and imbued with a sense of Taiwan independence, Chang said.

“It is absolutely not acceptable,” Chang cited Gao as saying.

Chang said he told Gao the draft act is an internal matter and has nothing to do with the challenges facing the talks on the trade of goods.

However, the two matters can be handled simultaneously because they are not contradictory to each other, the minister said he told Gao.

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