Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) yesterday said a planned cross-strait service trade agreement will contribute to the modernization of the service industry and create jobs on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Lin made the remarks at a welcoming ceremony held after his arrival at the Dongjiao State Guest Hotel in Shanghai ahead of a new round of high-level cross-strait talks today.
Lin was greeted at the hotel by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘).
“It feels like an encounter between old friends even though we have never met before,” Lin said when he first set eyes on Chen.
Today’s meeting will be the ninth round of high-level talks between the foundation and ARATS since June 2008.
On the agenda is the signing of a service trade agreement to further expand cross-strait markets. The agreement will be a major follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010.
Lin said the service industry contributed more to China’s annual GDP than its manufacturing sector for the first time in the first quarter of this year, while the service sector already accounts for 72 percent of Taiwan’s GDP.
However, the service sector ratios of Taiwan and China are low in comparison with those of advanced countries, he said.
“Therefore, there is still ample room for the service sectors on both sides to grow,” Lin said, adding that he is convinced the new pact will help speed up service industry modernization and create more jobs and business opportunities in both Taiwan and China.
Chen said the new accord would be an important milestone in ECFA implementation.
In the face of mounting global financial and economic challenges and competition, the two sides of the Strait should cooperate closely to upgrade their competitiveness and avoid being marginalized, he said.
The two sides will also review how previous cross-strait agreements have been implemented and draw up an agenda for the next round of high-level talks, Lin said.
Topics include cooperation in tax and avoidance of double taxation, meteorological studies, seismic monitoring and natural disaster prevention.
Lin’s delegation includes foundation Vice Chairman and Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉), Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) and Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭).