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SEF urges normalization of economic ties with China

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chiang Pin-kung said Thursday that amid the current global trend of regional economic integration, Taiwan should take the initiative to normalize cross-Taiwan Strait economic relations to avoid marginalization in the global arena.
Chiang made the remarks at the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation and Exchange Forum in Taipei, at which he paid tribute to professor Lo Shang-lien of the National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering and Tung Wensun, chairman of the China Tide Foundation, for their contributions to the development of cultural and economic exchanges between Taiwan and China.
According to Chiang, Taiwan should take the initiative to sign Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Asian countries in order to take advantage of the benefits of the global trend of regional economic cooperation, as China, Japan and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are all important export markets.
"Taiwan should especially enhance its economic ties with China through negotiations between the SEF and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), " Chiang advised, adding that it is the most feasible approach to avoiding marginalization in the global market.
Meanwhile, Tang Wei, a department chief of China's Ministry of Commerce in charge of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao trade affairs, said that both sides should remove all discriminatory limitations on trade.
"A joint council especially for trade affairs should be established within the framework of the SEF and ARATS to identify and solve cross-strait trade problems," Tang suggested.
Asked about the structure of a possible cross-strait agreement to facilitate economic cooperation, Tang said that the contents and principles of an FTA, a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), and a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) are basically the same.
"The signing of any one of these three agreements between Taiwan and China will be consistent with the principles of the Most Favored Nation Status (MFN) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations, and would allow the free flow of merchandise, services, and capital between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait," Tang said.
The primary purpose of signing such an agreement would be to create prosperity on both sides, he added.
The SEF and ARATS are quasi-official organizations designated by each side of the Taiwan Strait to handle cross-strait matters in the absence of official ties.
(By Luis Yu)

Updated : 2021-04-19 21:57 GMT+08:00