Financial services to gain if included in early harvest list: FSC

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) Taiwan's top financial regulator said Monday that Taiwan will benefit if the financial services sector is included in the early harvest program of the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).
Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Sean Chen said that signing the ECFA with China is one way to prevent Taiwan's financial services sector from being treated unfavorably.
"If the signing of the ECFA is delayed, I will be worried and sorry about it," he said.
The ECFA is on the agenda of the next formal round of cross-Taiwan Strait talks scheduled for next spring. In negotiations leading up to that meeting, representatives of the two sides will exchange lists of products they hope will be covered by an early harvest program under the trade deal.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said Monday that there will be about 500 items included in the early harvest list, mostly involving the petrochemical, textile, machinery and auto parts industries.
Shih also noted that formal ECFA negotiations will be held in January at the earliest.
Some experts have said that including the financial services sector in the early harvest program will bring about reciprocal market openings while not violating WTO guidelines and regulations.
Meanwhile, Chen also said the two sides have not yet discussed the number of Chinese banks that will be allowed to enter Taiwan's market.
It is not appropriate to set the number in the regulations, said Chen, when questioned by ruling Kuomingtang (KMT) Legislator Sun Ta-chien at a legislative committee hearing.
Chen said signing the ECFA is like building a highway, with the question of how many banks will be allowed to enter Taiwan to be controlled similar to the way traffic volume is controlled by regulating access on entry ramps.
Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on financial regulatory cooperation sealed by both sides in November, which will take effect Jan. 16, each side will be allowed to set up bank branches in the other's territory and once further agreements are signed, could allow each side to invest in the other's banks.
Chen mentioned last month that during the first stage after the MOU takes effect, Chinese banks will only be allowed to set up branches in Taiwan. The FSC will need to see how negotiations on the ECFA's early harvest list progress before revising related regulations to further open the market.
(By Chao-fen Kao and Fanny Liu)

Updated : 2021-03-08 15:38 GMT+08:00