The chief cross-Taiwan Strait negotiators, Chiang Pin-kung and Chen Yunlin, will sign a customs cooperation pact and a long-stalled investment protection agreement in their eighth meeting scheduled for Thursday.
This will bring to 18 the total number of agreements reached between the two sides since 2008, marking a new milestone for cross-strait relations.
As far as the investment protection agreement is concerned, however, there are still barriers that will be difficult to overcome, despite some major breakthroughs.
For example, Beijing has turned down Taipei's demand that should a Taiwanese businessman in China be arrested, his family should be informed within 24 hours.
In terms of dispute settlement, the two sides have agreed that investment disputes between private investors on the two sides (P2P) can be arbitrated by organizations in a third country agreed upon by the two parties. For disputes between private investors and governments (P2G), Taipei's proposal for "international arbitration" has been rejected by Beijing, which fears that such a move could imply recognition of Taiwan's statehood.
In conclusion, many restrictions still exist in the agreement because of political reasons: China is strongly against internationalizing cross-strait issues.
If Beijing can overcome its ideological hurdles and separate economics from politics, cross-strait relations will be able to advance to a higher level. (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 7, 2012)
(By Y.F. Low)