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Ma calls for prompt review of mainland services trade pact

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged the Legislative Yuan to start reviewing the cross-strait trade in services pact, adding that stalling the review will narrow Taiwan's window for implementing trade liberalization measures.

The president made the comments at the Kuomintang's (KMT) weekly Central Standing Committee in which Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) gave a report on cross-strait ties after the third plenary session of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress.

After hearing the report, Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, in addition to urging the MAC to carry out its projects successfully, also urged the Legislature to complete its review on the above-mentioned pact for the benefit of the nation.

Stalling the review will hinder Taiwan's economic development, Ma said, calling on the MAC to make the necessary preparations to expedite the process.

After having served as minister of MAC for one year and three months, Wang has become an expert on mainland Chinese affairs in a relatively short period of time, the president said.

TAO Comments, Question of Titles

Meanwhile, the mainland Chinese-based Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said that if the cross-strait service trade pact doesn't take effect, cross-strait economic cooperation as well as Taiwanese businesses will be negatively affected.

TAO said that the pact is not only conducive toward cross-strait economic cooperation but also conducive toward Taiwan's economic development.

According to local reports, the Legislature won't start reviewing the pact until after March 2014, meaning that it will only be placed on the docket in the next legislative session.

Wang and his mainland Chinese counterpart, TAO Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), are slated to meet in February 2014.

There has been speculation as to whether the two will refer to each other by their formal titles.

Zhang reportedly said that there need not be so much concern over titles, whereas Wang said that being able to refer to each other properly is one of the prerequisites for such a meeting, and in light of “Director Zhang's” comments, there shouldn't be much of a problem.

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