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Taiwan, China ink investment, customs pacts

ROC Central News Agency

2012/08/09 18:18:49

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Taiwan and China signed an investment protection pact and a customs cooperation agreement Thursday, a move that is expected to remove more trade barriers between the two sides.

The two pacts, which are the results of follow-up negotiations since the 2010 landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), were signed during the eighth round of cross-Taiwan Strait talks in Taipei between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and his visiting Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits President Chen Yunlin.

According to the pact, private Taiwanese and Chinese companies can use the new mechanism to resort to either a Taiwanese or Chinese arbiter to solve their dispute at a place both parties agree upon.

The mechanism resolves the main stumbling block that was holding up the agreement, which was Beijing's refusal to accept the use of an international arbitrator to settle disputes because that would tacitly acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty. China claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory.

As for commercial disputes between private businesses and governments, the investment pact outlined multiple remedies with different levels of mediation.

The two bodies also issued a joint statement in which they said they had reached consensus on personal safety, another main concern of Taiwanese businesspeople operating in China.

The statement said that if Taiwanese investors are arrested in China, their family members are to be notified of their whereabouts within 24 hours of their arrest.

This measure regarding personal safety was not included in the pact, however.

Meanwhile, under the new customs cooperation agreement, a platform will be established to enhance mutual discussion over customs-related problems.

Both sides will cooperate closely on the evaluation of imported goods to identify custom codes, which will lower the chance of disputes and accelerate customs clearance, according to the agreement.

English versions of the agreements are not available at the moment, according to the officials.

With the latest two agreements signed, Taiwan and China have inked 18 agreements since the two sides resumed dialogue in 2008. The meetings between Chiang and Chen have been held every six months since then, with the venue alternating between Taiwan and China.

(By Christie Chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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