Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Premier Wu Den-yih said Thursday thatnegotiators from Taiwan and China were making last-ditch efforts toincrease the number of items to be included on each side's "earlyharvest" lists under a proposed economic cooperation frameworkagreement (ECFA).
Addressing a dinner party in Yilan County in honor of Taiwanesebusinessmen operating in China, Wu said the number of products onTaiwan's list will be increased to around 510 from 500, while thenumber on China's will be boosted to 260 or 270.
At the third formal round of ECFA talks that ended in Beijinglast Sunday, China agreed with to Taiwan's list of 500 items thatwill be subject to preferential tariff treatment, in comparison tothe 200-odd Chinse items accepted by Taiwan.
But Taiwan's petrochemical and machine tools sectors havecomplained to the government about being excluded from the list, asthey face sharp competition from their Singapore counterparts, whoenjoy zero-tariff treatment following the formation of a free tradezone between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Huang Chih-peng saidthat same day that the Taiwanese delegates at the ongoingworking-level talks are still making efforts to include somepetrochemical products and machine tools on the list and said that ifthe issues are addressed, the ECFA is likely to be signed by the endof this month.
(By Lin Shu-yuan & Bear Lee)