Mainland expects to speed up economic pact discussion through joint efforts

17:04, March 17, 2010      

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The Chinese mainland and Taiwan should work together toward the goal of signing the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) as soon as possible, a spokesman said here Wednesday.

In response to a question whether the pact will be signed in June, Yang Yi, a spokesman of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a regular press conference that the two sides should work together "towards this target."

But when the pact would be signed depends on the progress of talks between the two sides, he said.

Experts from the two sides held the first round of talks in Beijing on Jan. 26. to prepare for formal discussions on the ECFA between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The two sides are still discussing the date of the second round of expert discussions, Yang said.

Premier Wen Jiabao told a press conference on March 14 that the negotiation and signature of the ECFA should be based on equal consultation, mutual benefit and taking account of both sides' concerns.

"Wen's remarks have reaffirmed our consistent stand and indicated our goodwill," Yang said.

The ECFA aims at institutionalizing economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait.

The pact will cover major economic activities across the Taiwan Strait, including market access for commodity trade and service trade, rules of origin, an early harvest program, trade remedies, dispute settlement issues, investment and economic cooperation.

"Studies done by the mainland and Taiwan research institutions showed that the ECFA will help both sides' economic development," Yang said.

Yang confirmed that Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Zengwei will visit Taiwan this month to participate in a cross-Strait trade event.

But he refused to comment on whether Jiang's visit is related to the ECFA talks.

Source: Xinhua
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