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Taiwan expects to sign ECFA with China in June: economics minister

2010/03/30 21:45:29

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) With the approach of the second round ofcross-Taiwan Strait talks on a proposed economic cooperationframework agreement (ECFA), Taiwan is expecting the pact to be signedin June, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said Tuesday.

The talks will be held March 31-April 1 at the Ta Shee Resort inTaoyuan County, some 40 km south of Taipei.

Shih said the negotiations will focus on items in the machinery,upstream and midstream textile, petroleum and transport manufacturingsectors, which are among the 500 items Taiwan has put on its "earlyharvest" list for immediate tariff easing or lifting upon the signingof the cross-strait trade pact.

Shih explained that Taiwan is eager to talk about items that areeither on the zero-tariff list of the free trade agreement betweenChina and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), or thatare major exports of Taiwan.

Taiwan's exports of those items to China are facing strongcompetition from ASEAN exporters and it is much more urgent to havethem secured on the ECFA's early-harvest list than other items, Shihsaid.

He noted that the flat panel fabrication sector, which at onepoint was said to be on the agenda of the upcoming ECFA talks, willnot be on the priority list for the negotiations.

Members of the Taiwanese delegation attending the Taoyuan talkswill include officials of the Mainland Affairs Council -- Taiwan'shighest authority in charge of China affairs -- as well as officialsof the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs(MOEA), the MOEA's Industrial Development Bureau, the quasi-officialStraits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and other relevant governmentagencies.

The Chinese delegation will be composed of board members of theBeijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits(ARATS) and officials of China's trade and economic departments, whowill attend the meeting as ARATS advisers.

Meanwhile, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Vice ChairwomanLee Jih-chu confirmed that banking and other financial services willnot be on the agenda of the upcoming talks, so no FSC officials willattend the meeting.

The MAC and the MOEA have decided to exclude the sector from theupcoming talks, which they think should focus on issues that localpeople care about the most, such as farmers' rights, Lee said.

Nevertheless, the financial service sector will be on the earlyharvest list, she added.

The first round of ECFA talks took place in Beijing Jan. 26.

(By Yang Su-min, Cheng Yun-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)