Taipei, April 25 (CNA) The negotiations between Taiwan and China on an investment protection pact and customs cooperation agreement are "basically" completed and the agreements are likely to be signed later this year, a Chinese official said Wednesday.
Kao Koong-lian, deputy chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), also said he hopes the two sides will reach a conclusion at the third meeting of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee, which will take place Thursday in New Taipei.
The committee's regular meetings are held alternately in Taiwan and China every six months.
Kao's Chinese counterpart Zheng Lizhong, executive vice president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), expressed the hope that the agreements will be signed in the next meeting between SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and ARATS President Chen Yunlin.
At a dinner held in Zheng's honor, Kao said he hopes the two sides will be able to reach an initial conclusion Thursday.
Zheng, who is in Taiwan for the committee's meeting, said "the negotiations on the investment protection and customs cooperation agreements are basically completed, and the pacts are likely to be signed at the eighth Chen-Chiang meeting."
The long-stalled investment protection pact aims to improve cross-Taiwan Strait commercial relations.
At Thursday's meeting of the committee, several cross-strait issues will be discussed, including the execution of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and matters related to setting up reciprocal trade offices.
Kao said he believes that Taiwan and China will finalize the arrangements for the trade offices on Thursday.
It is a very important milestone and cross-strait economic ties will benefit from the establishment of such trade offices, he added.
(By Chen Hung-chin and Nell Shen)