Taiwan, China to sign service pact at upcoming Shanghai talks

Taipei (The China Post/ANN) - Envoys from Taiwan and China will hold talks in Shanghai from June 20 to 22, during which they will sign a cross-strait service pact, said an official from the Taipei side.

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane and his Chinese counterpart, Chen Deming, from the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will sign the pact on June 21, said the official.

The official, SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian, made the announcement after working out the details for the upcoming Shanghai talks in a meeting in Taipei with his ARATS counterpart, Zheng Lizhong.

A number of professions and service sectors will be opened to each side under the new pact, but it will not include lawyers, doctors, accountants or architects, the SEF said.

According to the schedule, Lin and other SEF delegates will depart for Shanghai on the morning of June 20, and preliminary meetings will be held between the vice chairmen from the two sides in the afternoon.

Lin and Chen will hold a round of formal talks on the morning of June 21, and they will sign the cross-strait service pact later in the afternoon.

Lin is also scheduled to meet with Zhang Zhijun, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, and the SEF delegation will return to Taiwan on June 22.

Kao said both sides have already confirmed the text of the agreement, as well as arrangements for the Shanghai meeting between Lin and Chen.

During the Taipei meeting, both sides also proposed topics for future discussions, but no final decision was made, Kao said.

A lot of attention has been drawn to the possibility of both sides signing agreements to govern cross-strait commodity trade, introduce arbitration mechanisms, avoid double taxation, allow each side to set up offices on the other's territory and promote cultural exchange.

Kao said both sides reached a consensus on avoiding double taxation, but details have yet to be discussed.

SEF and ARATS also discussed the possibility of setting up offices on the other's territory, agreeing that these are necessary to handle the fast increasing exchanges between the two countries, Kao said. He said it is "highly possible" that such an agreement may be signed in the next round of SEF-ARATS talks after the Shanghai meet.

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