Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Executive Vice President Zheng Lizhong (R) and Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian shake hands before a consultation in Shanghai, east China, June 20, 2013. Zheng and Kao co-chaired the preliminary consultation of the ninth round of talks between chief negotiators from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in Shanghai Thursday afternoon. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese mainland's negotiator on cross-Strait ties Chen Deming started talks with his Taiwan counterpart Lin Join-sane on Friday over a service trade agreement.
Chen became the president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in April 2013 and Lin was elected chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in September 2012. It is the first time for them to sit at a negotiation table since they took office as chief negotiators on cross-Strait affairs.
The service trade agreement is one of the follow-up agreements for the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a more comprehensive cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010. ECFA aims to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Founded in 1991 and 1990, respectively, the ARATS and SEF are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait affairs.