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MAC does not expect pact on investments from PRC

Taipei Times

MAC does not expect pact on investments from PRC

By Ko Shu-ling, Staff Reporter

8 April 2009

Taipei and Beijing may not sign an agreement on investment from China in local businesses during their upcoming high-level talks, but will in any case issue a joint statement on the issue, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said both sides were likely to sign three agreements and issue a joint statement on Chinese investment during the meeting between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).

The meeting will take place either next month or in June.

During the Chiang-Chen meeting, the government hopes to sign three memorandums of understanding (MOU) on banking, securities and futures, and insurance with Beijing. Both sides had also engaged in talks covering currency exchange and a clearing mechanism for the Chinese yuan, Liu said.

However, because of some “technology issues” and differing industry demands, Liu said the two sides had agreed to sign a general financial cooperation agreement instead. The pact would include common areas in banking, securities and futures, insurance and currency exchange.

Individual financial supervisory agencies would then follow up by making more detailed arrangements, such as inking separate MOUs on banking, securities and futures, and insurance, Liu said.

Taipei also hopes to sign an agreement on cooperation in combating crime and on judicial assistance.

Liu said both sides would seek to establish a communication mechanism for judicial cases and an institutionalized cooperation framework on investigation, intelligence exchange and extradition of criminals.

Concerning regular passenger flights, Liu said progress had been limited because of several sticking points, but did not elaborate.

Liu made the remarks during a question-and-answer session at a press conference where the council released promotional pamphlets for the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) the administration seeks to ink with Beijing.

The leaflets describe the planned economic pact as “the road map for the normalization of cross-strait trade” and a “door-knocker to return to the world stage,” adding that it would be “endorsed by the people.”

An ECFA would only regulate economic cooperation and would not touch on the issue of sovereignty, unification or independence, according to the leaflets.

The pact would not be modeled on the closer economic partnership agreement between Hong Kong and Beijing, but would accord with the “spirit and principles of the World Trade Organization,” the pamphlets state.

Meanwhile, MAC Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday it was likely that the Chiang-Chen meeting would be held sooner rather than later if both sides could reach a consensus on the matter.

Lai said both sides have been building confidence following the initiation of an institutionalized negotiation mechanism, and that much progress had been made over the past few months.

This included an increase in the number Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, she said, adding that the number had risen from 300 people per day last year to 2,000.