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International Trade: Taiwan, China Sign Pacts on Protection For Investments, Cooperation on Customs

08/10/12

Source: BNA
Related Topics: International Trade

154 DER A-7
International Trade
Taiwan, China Sign Pacts on Protection
For Investments, Cooperation on Customs

By Yu-Tzu Chiu

TAIPEI—Taiwan and China Aug. 9 signed an investment protection pact and a customs cooperation agreement in Taipei, further facilitating economic exchange, according to Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

The two pacts resulted from follow-up negotiations taking place since the 2010 landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), was signed in Taipei by SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.

With the newest pacts signed, Taiwan and China have inked 18 agreements since the two sides resumed dialogue in May 2008, when Taiwan's China-friendly president, Ma Ying-jeou, took office.

According to Chiang, issues regarding investment protection have been raised by Taiwanese businessmen operating in China. “Through the ink of the long-awaited pact and future implementation of related measures, Taiwanese businessmen's properties, right of management, and personal safety [in China] can be systematically guaranteed,” Chiang said in his opening remarks to the meeting, which is the eighth round of cross-strait talks since 2008. A transcript of his remarks was made available to the press.

Process for Arbitration Included
The investment protection agreement provides, among other measures, a way for companies to settle some business disputes out of court. Under the pact, a new mechanism to solve disputes will be available to both Taiwanese and Chinese private firms using either a Taiwanese or Chinese arbiter at a place both parties agree upon. As for commercial disputes between private businesses and governments, the investment pact outlined multiple remedies with different levels of mediation.

However, some Taiwanese social groups monitoring the cross-strait talks have criticized the limit of the agreement, saying that an international dispute resolution mechanism should have been included.

Taiwanese Minister of Economic Affairs Yen-shiang Shih told reporters Aug. 9 that the binding of the investment protection agreement is just a start to provide Taiwanese businesspeople in China with systematic solutions.

According to Shih, both sides now aim to sign an agreement on trade in services by the end of this year and hope to sign two others on trade in goods and on dispute settlement in 2013.

Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation said Aug. 9 in a press release that the customs cooperation agreement aims to eliminate trade barriers by taking advantage of electronic technologies to simplify and speed up import-export processing.

Both sides will work collaboratively in several areas including mutual notification of customs regulations, exchanges of information relating to smuggled goods, verification of origin, and tariff classification for ECFA-related goods.

For More Information
The two agreements are available, in Chinese, at http://www.sef.org.tw/public/Attachment/28913352271.doc and http://www.sef.org.tw/public/Attachment/28913354571.doc.







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