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China Ready To Negotiate ECFA With Taiwan

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

19 May 2009

China is ready to begin negotiations with Taiwan over the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), it has been announced.

The announcement was made at a cross-Taiwan Strait forum by Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council.

The implementation of an ECFA - which is similar to a Free Trade Agreement - would significantly increase the investment opportunities between both regions.

Speaking of China's enthusiasm to push ahead with the ECFA negotiations, Mr Wang explained:

"We are concerned about the state of Taiwan's economy and are willing to do our best to help."

"With the expansion and deepening of exchanges, we will make unremitting efforts to do more good and concrete things for the people of Taiwan," he added.

According to Wang, Chinese companies in the electronics, telecommunications, biopharmaceuticals, marine transport, public works and trading companies sectors as well as textile, machinery and vehicle manufacturers are being encouraged to increase their investments in Taiwan.

Taiwanese businesses, on the other hand, are being encouraged to invest in Chinese construction projects and the tourism sector between the two regions, which could be rapidly expanded under the ECFA.

In a bid to boost cross-strait shipping between the two areas, Wang has also unveiled a plan to make 5 more direct shipping ports available to Taiwan - raising the total number to 68. Complementary measures will be added to this, with an increase to maritime safety, the establishment of representative offices and the granting of tax exemptions all coming into focus over the next few months.

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