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SEF urges service trade deal with China

NANTONG, China -- Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung yesterday said in China that he hoped a service trade agreement can be signed with mainland China by the end of the year.

He also called on the mainland to open up more of its service sector to Taiwanese businessmen.

Chiang made the remarks in Nantong, Jiangsu province at a one-day meeting on the transformation of Taiwanese businesses sponsored by the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland.

He said a trade service pact will be the focus of the next round of cross-strait talks between the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). The last round of SEF-ARATS talks, which are held every six months alternatively on either side of the Strait, took place in Taipei early last month. The ARATS and SEF are semi-official organizations responsible for cross-strait negotiations in the absence of formal ties between the two sides.

“I hope such an agreement could be signed at the end of the year, but it will depend on the progress of negotiations,” he said at the meeting, which was also attended by ARATS Vice President Wang Zaixi.

He urged the participants at the meeting to outline which services they wished to enter in China, so Taiwan's negotiation team could prepare for the next round of talks.

Chiang also suggested medical services, and financial and film industries as possible areas in which Taiwanese businesses could invest.

Taiwan businesses in the mainland were mostly involved in OEM business, but they should shift to the service industry from the manufacturing industry in the wake of global economic crises in recent years, he said.

They need government support and assistance from both sides of the Taiwan Strait in the transformation process, Chiang said.

He also said that if Taiwanese businesses could upgrade themselves through transformation, they will make great contributions to the economic development of the mainland.

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