• Directory of Taiwan

China urged to fix problems linked to cross-strait trade talks

Qingdao, China, May 18 (CNA) Taiwan's Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch said Sunday that he has urged China to give "pragmatic responses" to key problems that are challenging the progress of talks on a proposed merchandise trade agreement between the two sides. He brought up the issue during his meeting with China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng on May 16, after his arrival in Qingdao, China, for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting, Chang told the press. At the meeting, Chang said, he told Gao that the problems are mostly linked to the sensitive industrial sector, particularly businesses that produce petrochemicals, panels, automobiles and machine tools. If China cannot give a full and pragmatic response, there is no chance for Taiwan to sign the merchandise trade agreement, Chang told Gao. In response, the Chinese minister said that Chinese enterprises have a lot to say about China's opening to Taiwan, and some are worried the merchandise trade deal could very well meet similar roadblocks as those against the cross-strait trade in services agreement in Taiwan. The services trade accord was signed in June 2013 but has not yet been endorsed by Taiwan's lawmakers who worry about the pact on small local businesses and the job market. Despite the concerns, Gao promised that China's internal coordination will continue and he reiterated Beijing's efforts to promote win-win cross-strait exchanges, Chang said. Nevertheless, the Chinese minister raised concerns about Taiwan's draft cross-strait agreement monitoring bill, which is now under review in the Legislature, Chang added. Conveying Beijing's stance on the issue, Gao said the draft act is seen as discriminatory and imbued with a sense of Taiwan independence, Chang related. "It is absolutely not acceptable," Gao said, according to Chang. Chang said he told Gao the draft act is an internal matter and has nothing to do with the challenges facing the merchandise trade talks. The two matters, however, can be handled simultaneously because they are not contradictory to each other, the minister said he told Gao. (By Rita Cheng and Elizabeth Hsu)