Cross-strait negotiators mum on trade pact



TAIPEI–A Wednesday luncheon in Yunnan Province between top Taiwanese and Chinese negotiators closed without discussion of the stalled trade-in-services pact, an apparent indication that concerns in Taiwan over the pact have not hampered cross-strait exchanges, a spokesman said later in the day.

At their meeting, the heads of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) voiced support for continuing meetings of a coordinating committee ahead of future talks, according to SEF spokesman Maa Shaw-chang at a press briefing.

SEF Chairman Lin Join sane and ARATS President Chen Deming also agreed that they will go ahead with the next high-level meeting between their organizations, the 11th round of negotiations, irrespective of the protests in Taipei surrounding the services pact, Maa said.

Lin was originally set to visit China last month but did not make the trip because of ongoing protests, including the March 18-April 10 occupation of the Legislative Yuan by students concerned over the pact.

The services agreement was signed by SEF and ARATS in June 2013, but it remains stalled in the Legislative Yuan.

Protests erupted after lawmakers from the ruling Kuomintang tried to send the pact straight to the legislative floor, bypassing a review by the Legislature’s eight committees, on March 17.