Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said Tuesday that Taiwan is expected to start formal negotiations with New Zealand before the end of May on a planned economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.
The two countries have completed a joint study on the proposal, Shih told the media, noting that once the proposal has been approved by the New Zealand Cabinet, the two sides can start formal talks.
If there are no glitches, such talks will be launched by May 31, he added.
During the press briefing, the minister was asked to comment on Taiwan's wish that more Taiwanese products will be included to receive preferential tariff treatment under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that was signed between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in 2010.
In response, Shih said President Ma Ying-jeou has ordered the relevant authorities to complete negotiations with their Chinese counterparts on the issue before the end of next year.
The ECFA includes an early harvest program, in which more than 500 items of Taiwanese exports to the mainland are given preferential tariff treatment.
Taiwan has been hoping the services trade can also be included in the cross-strait agreement.
(By Huang Chiao-wen and Elizabeth Hsu)