Tuesday, October 13, 2009

President Ma: MOU and ECFA to be priority cross-strait tasks

At a ceremony celebrating the 98th National Day of the Republic of China, President Ma Ying-jeou said that relations between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland have improved greatly over the past year, and that a turning point for cross-strait peace has appeared.

He went on to say that over the past year, on the pragmatic basis of the “1992 Consensus,” Taipei and Beijing have signed nine agreements enabling larger numbers of visits to Taiwan by mainland tourists, direct air, sea, and postal links, food safety inspections, and mutual cross-strait judicial assistance. Cross-strait cooperation continues to expand daily, leading to the gradual accumulation of mutual trust and good will. Nevertheless, Ma added, “We believe that much remains for us to tackle on behalf of the well-being of our peoples, including negotiation of memorandums of understanding (MOU) on financial supervisory cooperation and an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).”

The president also emphasized that cross-strait differences and concerns are rooted in historical factors that cannot be overcome all at once. To achieve further peaceful development of relations, both sides must remain patient, face up to practical realities, and move forward in a gradual, orderly manner, so as to build mutual trust and find common ground amid differences. In addition, the government’s foremost guiding principle in dealing with cross-strait issues is to safeguard national sovereignty and advance the people’s welfare.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taipei and Beijing will hold the first formal talks regarding an ECFA at the end of October. A fourth informal negotiation meeting is scheduled for next week at which the two sides will first exchange views on the general items to be included on an “early harvest” list. At present, less than 700 priority items are slated for inclusion on the list, spanning mid- and up-stream petrochemical products, mechanical equipment and components, and mid- and up-stream textile products. In the service industry sector, the financial services industry will seek access to the Chinese mainland’s banking, securities, and insurance markets on more favorable terms than WTO preferential treatment. The commercial services sector will also strive for access to the mainland’s wholesale, retail, distribution and logistics market, while the transportation services sector will endeavor to gain access to the mainland’s cargo delivery and freight forwarding markets.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.