Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) There is no timetable for Taiwan and China to sign a cooperation agreement in the service industry, deputy chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said Wednesday.
While further negotiations in the field are expected to be a priority between both sides, as stipulated in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010, Kao Koong-lian said no timetable is in sight.
When asked by the media whether a service industry cooperation pact will be sealed by the end of this year, Kao said it will depend on how fast Taiwan and China can come to an agreement on the issue.
"But it is our goal (to sign a pact by 2013)," he said, adding that the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), have reached a consensus that there will not be a strict agenda governing the talks.
Kao also said Wednesday's preparatory meeting ahead of the eighth round of talks -- scheduled to start Thursday -- between SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and ARATS President Chen Yunlin had proceeded smoothly.
Both sides agreed that follow-up issues such as trade cooperation in goods and mechanism on dispute settlements should be carried out soon, the deputy chairman said.
Meanwhile, Kao said closer integration of the Taiwanese and Chinese economies is an ongoing challenge and he said he could not foresee how the process would develop.
His remarks came after Chen Yunlin said earlier that "it is a pressing issue for Taiwan and China to push for an economic integration."
Kao said he was not sure what Chen meant by the term "economic integration" and that it could still take a long time for both sides to work toward an understanding on the issue.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)