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MOEA hopes trade talks with China done by mid-year

TAIPEI--The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday that it hopes Taiwan and China will complete negotiations on a trade agreement in goods by the middle of this year.

The MOEA said Taipei has to speed up its pace of concluding negotiations with Beijing amid fears that China and South Korea will finish their ongoing negotiations on a free trade agreement in the near future, which will erode Taiwan's advantage in trade with China.

Ministry officials said that South Korea appears very aggressive in its FTA talks with China, so that market observers widely expect Beijing and Seoul to finish their negotiations by the end of this year.

The MOEA officials said that as South Korea largely overlaps with Taiwan in its exports, once its FTA talks with China are finished earlier than the trade pact in goods between Taiwan and China, Taiwanese exporters could feel the pinch of the impact.

Taiwan had previously expected the negotiations in the trade agreement in goods with China to be completed by the end of last year, but the hopes evaporated as strong opposition against the trade agreement in services delayed the progress of the talks.

The trade-in-services agreement with China, which was inked in June 2013, was considered a step forward since the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) was inked in 2010.

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