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Pollution control not part of cross-strait meteorological pact (update)
Central News Agency
2014-02-26 08:15 PM
Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) An agreement on meteorological cooperation that Taiwan and China are expected to sign on Thursday will not cover air pollution control, an issue of growing public concern in Taiwan, cross-strait officials said Wednesday. That area of expertise falls under the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) rather than the Central Weather Bureau, which is the sole Taiwanese government agency involved in the cross-strait cooperation that will be finalized during the latest round of high-level talks, according to Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). "The issue (of air pollution control) is not part of the weather bureau's responsibilities," SEF Deputy Chairman Chang Hsien-yao said after Wednesday's preparatory meeting. On Thursday, the heads of the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will ink two pacts on meteorological exchanges and earthquake monitoring. They will also decide whether air pollution control should be put on the formal agenda for the next high-level meeting between the two sides, Chang said. Chang stressed, however, that cross-strait officials have been paying great attention to air quality monitoring for the past two years. Taiwan's and China's environmental authorities started related discussions two years ago, he disclosed. Pollutants blowing across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China have been increasingly affecting Taiwan's air quality, according to the EPA. Whenever a cold air mass from the mainland is approaching, the air quality in Taiwan almost always deteriorates, the EPA said EPA data shows that air pollution from China has reached Taiwan seven times since last November. Besides environmental issues, the SEF and ARATS heads will decide Thursday on the subjects to be put on the agenda of their next round of talks, Chang said. Possible topics could include follow-up negotiations stipulated under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) Taiwan and China signed in 2010, namely cooperation on merchandise trade and dispute settlement, he said. It is also likely that the two sides will touch on issues such as the establishment of reciprocal offices on each side of the Taiwan Strait and a tax agreement to prevent double taxation, Chang said. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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