Committee set to begin commodity discussions

Staff Writer, with CNA

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 3

A cross-strait committee will soon begin discussions on liberalization of the commodity and service sector, but it will take at least one or two years to complete the negotiations, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said.

Shih made the remarks as the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) prepares to meet later this month for negotiations on implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that was signed between Taiwan and China in June and took effect last month.

The committee is to begin “three plus one” discussions to review the implementation of the “early harvest” program that allows preferential tariff treatment under the ECFA and the possible opening of trade group offices on either side.

The “three plus one” talks refer to negotiations on the liberalization of the commodity trade and service sector, a dispute-resolution mechanism and a cross-strait investment agreement that has been in the works since late last year.

Shih said the ministry has been actively preparing for the commodity and service sector negotiations and has “continued to communicate with the sectors quietly.”

During the commodity trade talks, Shih said: “Taiwan will insist on not including agriculture products in the ECFA talks.”