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Next round of Taiwan-China talks likely in June

ROC Central News Agency

2012/02/15 22:59:02

By Lee Hsin-Yin and Flor Wang

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Taiwan and China will likely hold the next round of high-level talks in June, focusing on investment protection and customs cooperation, sources said Wednesday.

As long as both sides reach common ground on a long-stalled investment protection agreement and make substantial progress in the area of customs cooperation, the authorities "would not rule out the possibility of holding the meeting in June," the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier in the day, the Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said that the next round of talks between Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin could take place in the first half of 2012.

At the meeting, the SEF and the ARATS delegates will finalize the agreements on investment protection and customs cooperation under the framework of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, said TAO spokeswoman Fan Liqing.

In the seventh round of bilateral talks held last October in China, the SEF and ARATS failed to iron out long-standing differences on certain provisions of the investment protection agreement.

The main stumbling block was Taiwan's insistence on stronger legal protections, which would require amendments to China's domestic laws, according to Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan.

Taiwan is pushing for the investment pact because it wants to protect its businesspeople in China, who can be vulnerable in disputes with local governments over land rights and compensation claims.

The SEF and the ARATS are semi-official bodies responsible for cross-Taiwan Strait activities in the absence of government-to-government contact.

The SEF and the ARATS have been holding systematic negotiations every six months in Taiwan and China alternatively.

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