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Mainland, Taiwan negotiators sign agreements

CHINESE mainland and Taiwan negotiators today agreed to cooperate in farm produce quarantine and fishermen's cross-Strait employment, as well as to deal with different product quality standards.

Three agreements were reached at the talks between negotiators of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), which handle cross-Strait issues on behalf of their respective authorities.

Under the pact on farm produce quarantine, the two sides agreed to deal with the difference of food safety standards and set up a mechanism to cope with farm produce quarantine emergencies.

They promised "prompt information sharing, quick investigation and assistance to each other" in emergencies.

The mainland and Taiwan will inform each other of epidemic outbreaks related to farm produce and report regularly on safety problems found in farm produce exports and imports, such as toxic substances and harmful infestations.

They will also set up a system to trace farm produce quality across the Strait, which means Taiwan would assist mainland importers to investigate production and processing of its farm produce and vice versa.

Both sides will ease quarantine measures on produce that passes investigations, according to the pact.

Farm produce, especially fruit, is an increasingly important part of cross-Strait trade and many Taiwan farmers and agriculture firms invest in the mainland.

The ARATS and SEF talks, the fourth round since the ARATS and the SEF resumed negotiations in June last year after a 10-year suspension, began Tuesday morning.


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