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Taiwan welcomes progress on working holiday pact with France

2013/09/17 14:36:22

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) Taiwan is aiming to sign a working holiday agreement with France as soon as possible, a foreign affairs official said Tuesday, following a French official's suggestion that an accord could be signed soon.

"We have been in talks with France on signing such an agreement," said Zhang Ming-zhong, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of European Affairs.

Asked about a report that Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a letter to French Senator Richard Yung that the agreement could be signed soon, Zhang said such a development was welcomed.

In Valls' letter dated Sept. 12, which Yung posted on his Senate website, the minister said he has brought new initiative to concluding similar working holiday agreements after they had been blocked by the previous government.

Indicating that a potential agreement with Taiwan presented "particular difficulties," Valls wrote that he has been working with other agencies to establish the proper legal format for such a deal.

"I am happy to inform you that these exchanges have advanced to the point that enable the signature of the bilateral accord in the very near future," the letter read.

If the pact is inked, France will join New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Ireland, Belgium and the United Kingdom as countries having signed a working-holiday agreement with Taiwan.

Such working holiday programs have been popular among Taiwanese young adults.

(By Tsai Hsiao-ying, Lilian Wu and Elaine Hou)