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Trade-in-goods pact with China unlikely this year: Duh

TAIPEI--The possibility of concluding talks on a trade-in-goods agreement (貨貿協議) between Taiwan and China this year is “nearly non existent” due to delays in talks, Deputy Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun (杜紫軍) said Monday, even as he dismissed speculation that Beijing has suspended all types of negotiations.

Duh said the two sides have not held any talks on the goods agreement for two months and have yet to decide on the date of the next round.

But China has not stopped all negotiations with Taiwan, he stressed. Beijing is probably still “observing” the situation in Taiwan in light of the controversy triggered by the trade-in services pact earlier this year, Duh said.

His comments came in response to media reports that the delay in ratifying the services pact, signed by representatives from Taipei and Beijing in June 2013, has led China to call off talks on all other proposed agreements, including the trade-in-goods pact and a dispute settlement arrangement.

Taiwan had previously expected negotiations on the goods pact could be completed by the end of this year.

Duh said however that since the agreement will cover over 10,000 categories of goods and involves talks on rules of origin, it is almost impossible for the complex negotiations to be completed by that time in light of the delay.

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Douglas Hus (徐旭東), Chairman of the Far Eastern Group, fields questions from the press at a public engagement in Taipei, yesterday. According to Hsu, it is crucial that the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement receives timely legislative approval, since Taiwan's economic future is entirely reliant on the accord. (CNA)

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