Taiwan, China negotiators plan meeting in December

TAIPEI Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:42am IST

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Top negotiators from Taiwan and China are planning a meeting in the second half of December in the island to further boost trade, Taiwan officials said on Wednesday.

P.K. Chiang, from Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, and his counterpart, Chen Yunlin, from China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, are due to meet in Taichung in Taiwan's west.

"Both sides have agreed to hold a fourth Chiang-Chen meeting in the middle of or late December," the Taiwan foundation said in a statement.

"Both sides agree to discuss and come to a consensus on four areas, including fisheries, inspection of agricultural products, cross-strait quality inspection and double taxation," it said.

However, analysts said it was unlikely that Chiang and Chen would sign a long-awaited free trade agreement-style deal, called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, in December as negotiations would still be ongoing.

On Tuesday, the Taiwan cabinet said it would begin formal talks on the agreement at the end of October, which will likely bring down tariffs for a wide range of products, such as petrochemicals and textiles.

China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's KMT fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.

(Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee)

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