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December 22, 2009

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Cross-Strait talks set for success

THE Chinese mainland and Taiwan have reached consensus on three topics to be discussed today when the two sides start a fresh round of talks.

The topics include labor cooperation in the fishing industry, liaison in inspection and quarantine of agricultural products, and cooperation in standard measuring, inspection and certification, according to Zheng Lizhong, executive vice president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

ARATS and its Taiwan counterpart Strait Exchange Foundation, both authorized in handling cross-Strait issues, exchanged views during a preparatory discussion yesterday in Taichung and prepared an agreement to be submitted today for ARATS and SEF chiefs to sign.

"The topics involve various aspects including fishery, agriculture, industry and commerce. They were carefully chosen with full consideration of people's needs on both sides," said Zheng at a press conference after the discussion.

The two sides also reached a basic consensus on avoiding double taxation and strengthening tax cooperation.

ARATS and SEF would arrange further talks to sign the agreement on taxation cooperation, Zheng said.

The talks between ARATS and SEF in Taichung will be the fourth round since the two sides resumed negotiations in June last year after a 10-year suspension. The two have signed nine agreements in the previous three meetings held in Beijing, Taipei and Nanjing.

"These agreements have brought convenience and momentum to the economic and social exchange between the mainland and Taiwan. They have also played a positive role for the two sides to jointly weather the international financial crisis," Zheng said.

Kao Kung-lian, vice chairman and secretary general of the SEF, also said at the press conference that these agreements had benefited people on both sides.

"With the increasingly close contact of the mainland and Taiwan, more topics will be discussed and more agreements will be signed," said Kao, who expressed thanks to the mainland for help after Typhoon Morakot hit the island in August.

Chen Yunlin, president of ARATS, said yesterday the cross-Strait talks were on track.

"As long as we stick to it, the path heading to peaceful development of cross-Strait relations will be wider," said Chen, who led the mainland delegation.

Taiwan-based Economic Daily said in yesterday's editorial that the progress in cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges over the past 18 months "should make both sides feel proud."


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