Taiwan explains its designation for free-trade pact with China
Central News Agency
2009-10-20 07:57 PM
Taipei, Oct. 20 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will handle the issue of naming the economic cooperation agreement which the island hopes to sign with China, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Chairman Liu Te-shun said Tuesday.

Liu gave the explanation in response to media inquiries about the difference in name given by Taiwan and mainland China for the pact, which Taiwan's government hopes to sign by next year. Taiwan has called it an "economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) " while China has called it a "cross-strait economic cooperation agreement" without the word framework.

The debates on the designation arose after China's Ministry of Commerce used its name for the accord in the Chinese-language abstract of a research report it released on Monday on the planned accord.

According to Liu, Taiwan's economic affairs ministry is the authority on the subject since it has been promoting the agreement's signing and playing the role of pushing for informal communications with China on the matter.

And officials responsible for economic and trade affairs from the two sides will be the ones responsible for jointly working out the content of the planned agreement, Liu said.

According to an MOEA position paper, the cross-strait agreement, temporarily named ECFA, is a fundamental accord regulating economic cooperation activities between the two sides.

However, the word "framework" is used because the ECFA is only the guideline of a formal agreement, according to the MOEA.

Because it must take the two sides a long time to complete the formal pact, the MOEA therefore has proposed signing the "framework agreement" first to resolve urgent problems, the paper said.

A formal agreement can not be decided without cross-strait talks, the paper noted.

(By Liu Cheng-ching & Elizabeth Hsu)

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