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September 26, 2017

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Talks for Taiwan-France working holiday pact under way: official

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan is still in talks with France over a working holiday program, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.

The government has been in negotiations with the European country for some time, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) told reporters.

"The talks are still ongoing," Kao said.

She refused to confirm a Taiwanese media report which quoted a French senator as saying that the deal will be sealed soon.

Asked to comment yesterday, MOFA's Department of European Affairs Director-General Zhang Ming-zong (張銘忠) told reporters that there is no timetable on when the reciprocal working holiday agreement will be signed but he welcomes the French senator's remark.

A Chinese-language report filed by the Central News Agency in Paris on Monday quoted Richard Yung, a senator for the French Socialist Party, as saying that he received an official letter from France's interior minister, Manuel Valls, who told him that the deal will be signed in the near future.

According to Yung, the deal will be sealed soon because of the joint efforts made by the French Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

French authorities have cleared the legal hurdles in making preparations to pave the way for such a deal, Yung added.

Taiwan and France have been pushing for the program for years.

Taiwan has so far signed working holiday agreements with nine countries around the world: New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium.

According to MOFA, Taiwan is asking France to offer a quota of 200 Taiwanese youths between 18 to 30 to take advantage of the program annually.

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