The latest round of talks between Taipei’s Straits Exchange Foundation and Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait has been postponed due to differences on a proposed investment protection agreement, the ROC Mainland Affairs Council said June 21.
SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin were scheduled to meet at the end of June to sign cross-strait pacts on investment protection and customs cooperation.
“The two sides have arrived at a basic consensus on the investment accord, but further negotiations will be needed on certain parts,” MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun said at a news conference.
“The Taiwan negotiating team will continue to strive to ensure maximum protection for mainland-based Taiwanese businesspeople under the proposed pact,” Liu added.
In the talks, working for more transparency regarding the powers and responsibilities of related mainland Chinese agencies and ensuring that there will be no follow-up obstacles to implementation of the pact “has been a difficult process,” he said.
Despite the postponement, Liu stressed that the two sides continue to communicate on the issue, and expressed confidence that the meeting could be held fairly soon.
They are not considering dealing with the two proposed pacts separately, he said.
“At present, we haven’t arrived at the signing stage, and the meeting has been delayed because certain details and wording have yet to be worked out,” he explained, adding that “it is not a matter of which side decided to put off the meeting.”
As for whether Beijing’s detention laws have presented an obstacle in the investment accord negotiations, Liu said, “This is not the crux of the matter.”
Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters in Beijing June 21 that “the two sides are in fundamental agreement on the investment and customs pacts and have maintained close communications on setting a date for the eighth meeting, which has yet to be finalized.” (SB-THN)