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Mainland, Taiwan negotiators sign service trade agreement


14:29, June 21, 2013

SHANGHAI, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Negotiators from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan signed a service trade agreement on Friday that is expected to further strengthen cross-strait economic ties.

The agreement was inked between the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The ARATS and SEF are respectively authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-strait affairs.

Both sides agreed that the agreement will further normalize and liberalize service trade between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, as well as promote the opening-up of mutual markets in the service sector.

The agreement is one of several follow-up agreements for the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a comprehensive cross-strait economic pact signed in 2010. The pact is intended to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Under the service trade agreement, the two sides have agreed to lower the threshold for market access for service providers and formulate more favorable policies in order to boost cross-strait cooperation in the service industry.

According to the agreement, the Chinese mainland will open 80 service sectors to Taiwan, while Taiwan will open 64 sectors to the mainland. The sectors include those related to commerce, telecommunications, construction, distribution, the environment, health, tourism, entertainment, culture, sports, transportation and finance.

The agreement also stipulates basic service trade principles, rights and obligations, the orientation of development and relevant working mechanisms for both sides.

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