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ARATS delegation arrives in Taiwan in preparation for signing trade pact

06-24-2010 09:49 BJT Special Report: 5th Round of ARATS-SEF Talks |

TAIPEI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A delegation of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) arrived Wednesday to prepare for the upcoming fifth round of trade talks with the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Representatives from the two organizations, respectively authorized by the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait affairs, are expected to discuss the time and location of the talks on Thursday and prepare for the signing of the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

"The agreements reached so far by the two sides in terms of the pact and an early harvest program are the results of mutual understanding, joint endeavors, long-term expectations and overall considerations," said Zheng Lizhong, ARATS executive vice president who led the mainland delegation, speaking after their arrival.

The ECFA seeks to normalize mainland-Taiwan economic ties and draw the two economies closer together. Its "early harvest program" will cover certain industries that will be the first to benefit from tariff reductions.

While no details of the program have been revealed, earlier reports show a high proportion of items proposed by Taiwan have been included on the list. The number of such items might exceed 500.

SEF vice chairman and secretary general Kao Kung-lian, who led the Taiwan delegation in meetings with Zheng, said ECFA is a monumental event that will mark a new era for the development of cross-Strait relations.

In addition, the two organizations also reached "basic consensus" on an agreement aimed at facilitating cross-Strait cooperation on the protection of intellectual property rights and will prepare for the signing of it.

Zheng said the agreement is expected to boost the creativity and innovation of people from both sides and promote cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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