Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Vice President Wu Den-yih on Tuesday urged China to better protect the interests and safety of Taiwanese businesspeople operating there, two days before the two sides are due to sign an investment protection pact.
"Mainland authorities must be willing to show sincerity when they sign the cross-strait investment protection agreement and offer more comprehensive protection of the personal safety and investment rights of Taiwanese businesspeople," Wu said.
China and Taiwan should engage with each other on an equal footing and in a manner that is mutually beneficial and cooperative, he said while speaking at a forum in Taipei held to encourage Chinese investment in Taiwan and industrywide collaboration.
Wu's remarks came two days before the eighth-round of high-level talks between Taiwan and China since 2008, to be held in Taipei.
The two sides are scheduled to seal a long-stalled investment protection pact and a customs cooperation pact aimed at expediting customs clearance procedures.
Lai Shin-yuan, head of the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top China policy planner, acknowledged at the forum that the investment protection pact would not be a panacea but said it was a good first step toward safeguarding the rights of Taiwanese and Chinese investors.
The best protection will only be achieved when the two sides continue to work out their differences in dealing with disputes and ease their worries about losing their assets and even their lives, she said.
Lai added that the agreement not only addresses the needs of Taiwanese businesspeople but also facilitates the two-way flow of capital, technical know-how and talent and achieves a balance in the exchanges.
As of June, only 267 Chinese investment projects in Taiwan worth US$300 million had been approved, while China has approved close to 40,000 Taiwanese investments in the mainland worth more than US$117.4 billion, Lai said.
Meanwhile, Zhang Mingqing, vice president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), called for a better environment for Chinese investors in Taiwan, where he said they face many restrictions.
They include limiting the possible fields in which they can invest, the relatively narrow room for making money, and the inconvenience of businessmen traveling between China and Taiwan, Zhang said.
Taiwan did open its doors further to Chinese investment in March, allowing Chinese investors to put their money in an additional 115 manufacturing sectors and an extra 23 categories in both the service and public construction sectors.
Meanwhile, Zheng Lizhong, another ARATS vice president, arrived in Taipei earlier Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming high-level talks with Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).
(By Chen Hung-chin, Ho Meng-kuei and Scully Hsiao)