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Taiwan wants to sign China pact at cross-strait talks: shih

Taiwan wants to sign China pact at cross-strait talks: shih

Taiwan wants to sign a trade accord with China at talks due in the first half of next year as it seeks access to the world's fastest-growing major economy.
The two sides will begin formal negotiations on the so- called Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement next month, Economics Affairs Minister Shih Yen-shiang said at a briefing in Taipei today. The island wants the accord to be ready at the fifth cross-strait talks in China.
The initial agreement "includes two parts: the first is cuts to import duties on about 500 goods; and the second is a further easing of restrictions on services such as retail and wholesale businesses and financial services," Shih said.
China and Taiwan agreed last week to increase cooperation in fishing, agricultural and industrial products as they seek to end a 60-year standoff since Mao Zedong's Communist forces took control of the mainland, prompting their Nationalist opponents to flee to the island. The two sides resumed talks in June 2008 after almost a decade-long hiatus triggered by a dispute over how to describe the dialogue.
Shih said Taiwan would consider widening a list of industries open to Chinese investment "soon," declining to specify them. The island on June 30 said it would allow Chinese investment in 100 industries and public infrastructure projects, excluding semiconductors and telecommunications.
Investment in China
Taiwan has also started inter-ministerial meetings on easing restrictions on investment in China, Shih said. He declined to say whether that would include companies that produce semiconductors and flat-panel screens for televisions and computers, which are barred from investing in China.
Taiwanese companies have invested an estimated US$150 billion in China in the past 20 years, while Chinese companies have invested NT$1.19 billion (US$37 million) in Taiwan since June 30, according to data from the island's Straits Exchange Foundation.
Ties have improved since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May last year and abandoned his predecessor's pro- independence stance. Ma is seeking better relations with the island's biggest trading partner and No. 1 overseas investment destination to help lift the economy out of a yearlong recession.
China, the world's third-largest economy, claims Taiwan to be part of its territory, though the two have been ruled separately since 1949.
Shih, who was speaking at a year-end briefing with reporters today, also said the government plans to hold talks with lawmakers on funding for the island's memory-chip industry, after they blocked the measure last month.
Taiwan's Economics Ministry in March announced plans to set up a holding company to help rescue the dynamic random- access memory chip industry. Taiwan Innovation Memory Co. and Hsinchu-based Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. both applied to the Cabinet for funds under the plan.
Taiwan Innovation may consider private investment if lawmakers reject requests for funds, Shih said.


Updated : 2021-02-27 21:26 GMT+08:00