Taiwan's President Wants Early Signing Of ECFA With China
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Taiwan’s President, Ma Ying-jeou, has reiterated that the negotiation
and signing of the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China
should be completed as soon as possible, as it was an imperative for Taiwan’s
Initial negotiations on the proposed ECFA between the two countries were held in January last
year. There appeared to have been agreement on procedural matters, but participants
at the meeting said that it was difficult to say when the next official round
of negotiations would be.
Both China and Taiwan still had much preparatory work to do, particularly on
an “early harvest” list of products eligible for lower tariffs,
before specific discussions could be held. While each side agreed to expedite
their work as far as possible, the timing of a further meeting is therefore
unlikely to be fixed before it is confirmed that such work has been done.
However, it seems that the Taiwanese government is still looking to sign the
ECFA during the first half of this year, with the second round of negotiations
expected to start next month. The positive message given out by Ma Ying-jeou
reinforces that intention.
With the ECFA as a starting point, he confirmed that it would then be easier
for Taiwan to pursue free trade agreements with its other major trading partners.
He is particularly concerned that the advent of the free trade agreement between
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on January 1 this year
will adversely affect Taiwan’s trade prospects.
He also pledged that the government would look after Taiwan’s interest
in the negotiation of the ECFA. For example, the government will look to a reduction
in import tariffs imposed by China on Taiwan’s manufactured goods, and
arrange for the protection of Taiwanese investments and intellectual property
rights in China.