Taiwan, South Korea begin talks on investment protection pact: official
The China Post news staff and AFPAn official from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) confirmed yesterday that Taiwan has begun talks with South Korea over a treaty designed to protect private investments. As to whether Taiwan and South Korea have engaged in discussions over an Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA), Francis Liang, deputy minister of the MOEA, said, “I can only say that both parties have expressed interest, but that official talks have not begun yet.”
July 7, 2012, 12:14 am TWN
In order to establish a bilateral investment protection agreement, South Korean and Taiwanese officials held a meeting in Taipei last month to negotiate the terms of the treaty. According to reports, a second meeting is to be held in South Korea sometime in October, but officials on both sides have kept quiet about the details. Liang did not deny that a second meeting would take place.
MOEA officials were surprised that the talks had been exposed, as the meetings were meant to be kept confidential. According to South Korean sources, Seoul was aware that trade talks with Taipei would be a sensitive issue with regard to Beijing's position; therefore, it chose not to publicly disclose the existence of such talks.
An official of the MOEA explained, however, that trade negotiations are kept secret customarily. The discussion of the investment treaty between Taiwan and South Korea was not kept a secret because of any objections that the mainland authorities might have.
Once the investment treaty is signed, Taiwanese manufacturers in South Korea will be able to benefit from South Korea's free trade agreements. Likewise, South Korea will be able to enjoy more employment opportunities if Taiwanese manufacturers were to build their factories there.
South Korea has begun talks with Taiwan on an investment treaty for the first time since diplomatic relations were broken 20 years ago, the South Korean foreign ministry said Friday.
The first round of talks was held in Taiwan in late June, a spokeswoman told AFP, adding that the schedule for the second round has not been decided yet.
Korea's Yonhap news agency and Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the second round would be held in Seoul in October. The treaty would help protect private investments.
Seoul switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China in 1992, but maintains close trade and civil ties with the self-ruled island. Two-way trade was worth US$32.9 billion last year.