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Cabinet approves ECFA and copyright protection agreement
Published by QIO: 2010/7/2

Cabinet approves ECFA and copyright protection agreement

The Executive Yuan on July 1 approved the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) and a copyright protection pact signed by Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS). As required by the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the pacts will now be sent to the Legislative Yuan for screening.

After the Executive Yuan's passage of the two agreements, Premier Wu Den-yih stressed that the ECFA was signed on the basis of equality and mutual benefit following step-by-step negotiations. The premier said that the agreement not only proves that the government has upheld its pledge of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people" by protecting the interest of the island's agriculture, traditional industries, and small- and medium-sized enterprises, but also paves the way for mutual benefit and a win-win situation for both sides of the strait. The ECFA marks a milestone in cross-strait trade relations, he added, and will help link Taiwan to the Asia-Pacific and the rest of the global economy.

Regarding the agreement on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, Premier Wu said it reflects the universal value attached to the safeguarding of IPR. Both sides have established comprehensive protection measures that will foster innovation and R&D in the corporate sector. The two agreements, according to the premier, will enhance Taiwan's economic development and strengthen its position in Asia with far-reaching impacts into the future.

The ECFA marks a significant stride toward “strengthening Taiwan, linking Taiwan to the Asia-Pacific, and creating a global presence,” the premier noted, and the first step toward liberalizing cross-strait trade. As the two sides will continue to negotiate deals on investment and other goods and services exchange, the premier expects all government agencies to continue working just as hard to build a framework for normalizing bilateral economic relations. Since the ECFA will promote an open and free environment, we must plan our global economic strategies for the post-ECFA era, he said, adding that the ROC must pursue mutually-beneficial free trade agreements with other important trading partners. This will help Taiwan to be even more in sync with the global economy, enabling the local economy to scale new heights, he said.

After these two agreements and their supplementary rules and measures pass the Executive Yuan, they will immediately be forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation. The premier urged the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and other related agencies to strengthen communications with lawmakers and convey to the public the benefits of the ECFA, helping people to have a correct understanding of the pact’s significance. Meanwhile, government agencies must work diligently to review and amend related measures so that Taiwan can be completely prepared when ECFA takes effect, especially with regard to transforming and providing relief to the industries that will be impacted, the premier said. To upgrade Taiwan’s industries, Wu said the Ministry of Economic Affairs should actively push forward its plans on the 10-year, NT$95-billion relief package to boost the weaker sectors most likely affected by the ECFA.

According to the MAC, the two agreements signed between the SEF and ARATS on June 29 must be approved by the Executive Yuan and forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for screening within 30 days of signing. This procedure is required by Article 5 Paragraph 2 of the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

The main points of the two agreements are as follows. First, the ECFA focuses on cross-strait trade in goods and services, investment, economic cooperation, early harvest, dispute settlement, regulations under which the pact can take effect or be abolished, and follow-up negotiations. A special committee will be formed to oversee the ECFA’s implementation in order to boost administrative efficiency and expertise.

Second, the IPR protection agreement lays out collaboration goals and protection of priority rights and variety rights. This agreement will promote inspection cooperation, industrial cooperation and certification services. The pact will also establish a joint mechanism to monitor cross-border criminal infringement, which will ultimately enhance economic, technological and cultural development on both sides of the strait.

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