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Hopes high for cross-Strait accord

(Shanghai Daily)

09:00, June 21, 2013

Zheng Lizhong (right), executive vice president of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait and his Taiwan counterpart Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman of Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation, shake hands at a preparatory meeting between the two sides in Shanghai yesterday. Today the two sides are expected to sign a service trade agreement after final talks as part of efforts to boost economic ties and competitiveness in the service industry. (Shanghai Daily Photo)

Negotiators from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have spoken highly of the prospects of a service trade agreement in strengthening cross-Strait economic ties and boosting the two sides' respective competitiveness in the service industry.

Both Zheng Lizhong, a senior negotiator from the Chinese mainland, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Kao Koong-lian, underlined the significance of the pact as they co-chaired a consultation in Shanghai yesterday.

The consultation was held in preparation for final talks and a signing ceremony of the pact that will be attended by their respective superiors today.

Zheng, executive vice president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, said the agreement will further liberalize and facilitate service trade between the two sides.

"The signing of the service trade agreement will be a new achievement under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are expected to share more bonuses in peacefully developing cross-Strait relations," he said.

Kao, vice chairman of the Taiwan-based Strait Exchange Foundation, believed both the mainland and Taiwan can make their respective advantages complement each other through increased economic and trade cooperation.

The service trade agreement is one of the follow-up deals for a wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010. The agreement aims to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers between the mainland and Taiwan.

Zheng said the mainland had tried to consider the needs of Taiwan and made reasonable arrangements under the principle of mutual understanding and benefit during preliminary negotiations.

Zheng also praised the "important endeavors to increase mutual political trust by the two sides across the Taiwan Strait not long ago," saying it had laid a solid groundwork for the talks between the two bodies.

The talks are people-oriented and have won popular support from the public on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the senior negotiator said.

Today's talks will be the first of their kind since the two sides' newly elected leaders took office. Chen Deming became the association's president in April, while Lin Join-sane was elected the foundation's chairman last September.

Today will also mark the ninth round of talks between the two sides since they resumed talks in June 2008 after a nine-year suspension.

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