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Agreement on cross-strait goods pact to arrive mid 2014

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch yesterday announced that he intends to see the completion of negotiations on an upcoming cross-strait goods trade pact with China by the middle of next year.

During yesterday's Legislative Yuan session, Chang stated to lawmakers that despite brisk progress made in negotiations among cross-strait counterparts, the deal is unlikely to be completed this year as scheduled, as his office is mired by a number of issues. Chang reiterated his resolve to expedite the process, and prevent the issue from being sidelined until the end of next year, which may have a detrimental effect on ongoing trade agreements with other trading partners.

In answering a lawmaker's suggestion that governing bodies should work toward simultaneously moving both the service industries and goods trade pacts forward, Chang replied that the option may not be feasible. “The option to move both trade accords forward may be dependent on the outcome of the service industries agreement,” said Chang. “More time may be needed to resolve complexities that risen over the assessment of the service industries pact,” Chang continued.

According to reports, the approval process of the service industries agreement may not begin until March, when a number of scheduled public hearings have taken place.

Vice Economic Affairs Minister Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭) stated to lawmakers that about two-thirds of the goods trade pact's list of 8,000 products have been approved by mediators on both sides of the strait.

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