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December 23, 2009

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Mainland, Taiwan sign deals in 3 crucial areas of industry

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

Three agreements were reached at the talks between the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation, which handle cross-Strait issues.

The talks, the fourth round since ARATS and SEF resumed negotiations in June 2008 after a 10-year suspension, began in the morning.

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

Both sides will ease quarantine measures on produce that passes investigations.

Farm produce, especially fruit, is a vital part of cross-Strait trade and many Taiwan farmers and agricultural firms invest in the mainland.

ARATS and SEF signed the agreement on the cooperation in standards measuring, inspection and certification in a bid to facilitate economic and trade contacts and improve the safety and quality of products.

Cooperation in legal measurement and information exchanges in measuring techniques and control will also be strengthened.

The two sides agreed to carry out technical cooperation in inspection and measuring of product safety, and promote the establishment and implementation of certification and accreditation systems in new areas.

They decided to establish a bulletin system on safety data and to intensify coordination on unqualified goods.

With an agreement signed after the talks, Taiwan boat owners can hire people from the mainland to engage in offshore and deep-sea fishing and vice versa.

Crew members of the same rank on board the same fishing boats from both the mainland and Taiwan are entitled to the same payment and labor protection measures.

They agreed to set up a system to allow fishing boat owners and crew to file complaints and set up a mechanism to settle labor disputes.

The mainland and Taiwan will quickly inform each other of sea safety emergencies.

The pacts are effective within 90 days.


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