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Former VP prepares for Boao Forum for Asia
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-08 05:40 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – With the student occupation of the Legislative Yuan coming to a close Thursday, observers were watching whether the trade-in-services pact would come up for discussion at a meeting the same day between former Vice President Vincent Siew and China’s Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia.

The activists decided to schedule their departure from the Legislature for Thursday evening after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said the review of framework guidelines for trade talks with China would take precedence over passage of the trade pact. His words were seen as a major concession to the students’ demands.

The trade accord was signed by Taiwan and China last June 21, but the government has insisted that even during a promised clause-by-clause legislative review, not a single item could be changed or returned for renegotiation with Beijing.

Since Siew was due to meet Li shortly after the latter’s speech at the opening plenary session of the Boao Forum for Asia on the Chinese island of Hainan Thursday morning, speculation has increased whether the sensitive topic of the trade pact would be mentioned or not.

Siew, who has a long career behind him as a top trade and economics official in the government, was expected to look forward to the next step in the development of business relations between Taiwan and China, reports said.

Likely topics for conversation were the trade-in-goods pact which had been scheduled for completion after the trade-in-services accord, and cooperation between Taiwan’s free economic model zones and China’s free trade zones. Taiwan’s hopes for joining economic areas such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership could also come up, reports said.

After his meeting with Li, he was scheduled to participate in a cross-straits business roundtable Friday afternoon. In addition, a banquet with the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun and with the Hainan provincial authorities, reports said.

Siew’s delegation, which leaves for Hainan Wednesday afternoon, will reportedly include business leaders such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. Chairman Terry Gou, Fubon Financial Holding Chairman Daniel Tsai, Bank SinoPac Chairman Paul Chiu and Bank of Taiwan Chairperson Lee Jih-chu.

The latest edition of the Boao Forum, conducted under the title of ‘Asia’s New Future: Identifying New Growth Drivers,’ takes place April 8-11, though most government leaders will address a plenary session on April 10.

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