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September 25, 2017

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Taiwan trade talks still on table: MOC vice minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Despite Taiwan's imposing of a rule to monitor the proceedings during the Cross-Strait Trade in Service Agreement talks, negotiation on the trade agreement was not put on hold, China's Ministry of Commerce's (MOC) Vice Minister Gao Yan (高燕) said yesterday.

 Gao added that the MOC would like to hold a sixth cross-strait economic co-operation meeting, and called on Taiwan to arrange it. Gao said that she herself was the chief negotiator on the goods in trade agreement, and that the rumors of the agreement negotiations being put on hold were unfounded.  

 General Chamber of Commerce chairman Lai Chang-yi (賴正鎰) led a group of 40 people to pay a visit to the MOC yesterday. They were received by Gao, who is in charge of commerce relations with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

 Gao said that she "hopes service in trade agreement will not suffer any more delays," and stressed that China will maintain its stance and keep opening up.

 The Chamber of Commerce would like to see service in trade agreement pass as soon as possible, Lai said, adding that he is "relieved" to hear that talks were not put on hold.

 Gao pointed out that China and South Korea have conducted 11 rounds of talks on their free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to be put into effect by year's end. Once China and South Korea strike an FTA deal, Korean products will enter the Chinese market and through so gain more international exposure, Gao said. Taiwan might lose its edge then and start to lag behind, which would be a pity, she added.

 In light of this, Taiwan should continue talks with China based on the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), creating a win-win situation, Gao suggested.

 The Chinese government intends to simplify the review process for Taiwan-based companies investing in mainland China, Gao said.

 During the meeting, members of a Taiwanese business group requested that the 13-percent tariff be removed for Taiwanese fruit exported to mainland China. Gao said in response that this needs to be worked out during the goods in trade agreement negotiation.

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