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Cross-Strait service trade pact at final stage


09:07, December 13, 2012

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are in the final stages of reaching a service trade agreement, a Chinese mainland spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

At a press conference here, Fan Liqing, spokesperson with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said, "We have reached a common understanding in many aspects and will try our best to finish the negotiation by the end of this year."

After the negotiation, the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation will decide a timetable for signing it, Fan said.

The deal is one of the follow-up agreements for the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010.

During the negotiation, the mainland has tried to consider the needs of the Taiwan side and made reasonable arrangements under the principle of mutual benefits, Fan said.

"Regarding market opening, the mainland's offer is even higher than its WTO commitments and follow the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) signed with Hong Kong by the maximum standard," she said.

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