First cross-Strait co-op committee meets in Taiwan

19:06, February 22, 2011      

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Zheng Lizhong (L), vice president of Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), shakes hands with Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, during the first meeting of the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee held in Taoyuan, southeast China's Taiwan, Feb. 22, 2011. (Xinhua/Song Lidong)

The first meeting of the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) opened Tuesday in Taiwan's Taoyuan County.

Behind closed doors, the day-long meeting was co-convened by Zheng Lizhong, head of the Chinese mainland delegation and vice president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) vice chairman Kao Koong-lian.

Jiang Zengwei, the mainland's Vice Commerce Minister, and Francis Liang, the island's senior economic official, chaired the meeting as the top representatives for both sides.

The ECC was established last month under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between the mainland and the island in June last year. Jointly set up by the SEF and the ARATS, it handles issues concerning the ECFA, which aims at boosting cross-Strait trade.

Zheng said the ECC and its working groups should complete ECFA-related follow-up negotiations "as soon as possible," and both sides should sign relevant agreements as long as negotiations were completed.

He said with the unfolding of the follow-up negotiations and the implementation of the ECFA "early harvest" program from Jan. 1, trade would be expanded and industrial competitiveness on both sides enhanced.

The first ECC meeting was "another historic moment in the development of cross-Strait relations," and it would promote economic development on both sides, free and normalization of economic cooperation, he said.

Zheng said that "actively promoting the implementation of the ECFA" was enshrined in the mainland's proposal for formulating the 12th five-year program on economic and social development (2011-2015), which would definitely "improve the environment for Taiwan's economic growth and create huge opportunities for Taiwanese business people investing on the mainland."

Kao said both sides paid great attention to the ECC meeting and both should be sincere and work hard to ensure the ECFA benefit people on both sides.

The agenda included the establishment of working groups under the ECC, negotiations on follow-up agreements and an evaluation of the implementation of the ECFA's "early harvest" program.

ARATS president Chen Yunlin will arrive in Taiwan Wednesday for a six-day visit to learn about the island's agricultural sector.

Source: Xinhua

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