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Explanation on the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee

  • Date:2011-01-06

1. Role of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee

(1) According to Article 11 of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (CSECC) is a negotiation platform and liaison mechanism established under the SEF-ARATS (Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits) framework. The Committee mainly handles operational talks on ECFA follow-up negotiation issues and carries out affairs related to implementation of matters agreed upon under the ECFA.

(2) The CSECC is largely modeled after the Trade and Investment Committee established by the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA) and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), according to the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (known as the TIFA, a framework agreement signed between the CCNAA and the AIT to stipulate principles and procedures for trade and investment consultations). Under the equal negotiation framework of the SEF and the ARATS, the CSECC will be formed by representatives designated respectively by each side.

(3) In sum, the CSECC is a task-oriented and functional negotiation platform and liaison mechanism for handling affairs related to the ECFA. It does not possess an organized form or function, it is not a permanent agency or organization, it does not have full-time staff, and it does not involve budget planning, articles of organization, or other such issues.
(4) Regional trade and bilateral economic agreements signed among other countries in the world today have all established mechanisms similar to the CSECC to promote follow-up negotiations, supervise implementation of the signed agreements, and explain the articles.

2. Composition and Operation of the CSECC

(1) Under the SEF-ARATS framework, representatives designated respectively by each side participate equally in the CSECC. The Committee is mainly composed of officials of competent authorities for economic and trade related affairs on the two sides. Essentially, it is a platform for interactions between officials of the competent authorities on the two sides and for the establishment of a liaison mechanism for related affairs.

(2) CSECC meetings (regular meetings are expected to be held once every half-year, while irregular ones can be convened as needed with the agreement of both sides) will be jointly participated in by representatives of the two sides under the SEF-ARATS mechanism. Today (January 6, 2011), the SEF and the ARATS have separately issued press releases announcing their CSECC representatives. Taiwan's Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Kuo-Hsin Liang and mainland China's Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei will serve as the chief representatives for the two sides and will directly hold talks and negotiations during meetings. SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian and ARATS Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong will jointly serve as the conveners of the CSECC.

3. Duties

(1) ECFA-related Consultations: This includes consultations on ECFA follow-up negotiation issues, implementation of the Agreement and any needed consultations for the signing of follow-up agreements. However, consultations under the CSECC will be positioned at the level of talks on operational issues. Any phased consensus reached by the Committee on operational issues must still be confirmed through the procedures of the SEF and the ARATS or be signed as an agreement through SEF- ARATS negotiations.

(2) Handling of affairs related to the ECFA implementation (including: supervision and assessment of the ECFA implementation, interpretation of the ECFA stipulations, reporting of important economic and trade information, etc.): Affairs related to the ECFA implementation must comply with the respective laws and regulations of the two sides. If there are any matters involving amendment to the Agreement or the revision of laws, such matters must still undergo the mutual confirmation procedures of the SEF and the ARATS.

4. Supervision Issues

(1) The CSECC is composed of officials of competent authorities for economic and trade related affairs on the two sides. All members are naturally subject to existing laws, administrative systems, and the oversight of the Legislative Yuan. The negotiation and signing of related follow-up agreements must still be handled under the SEF-ARATS framework. Negotiations are conducted on equal terms and with dignity, without the problem of being dwarfed. According to Article 5 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, any follow-up agreements must also be submitted to the Legislative Yuan after the signing in order to complete the procedures and then come into effect.

(2) The functions, composition, and operational methods of the CSECC are all specified in Article 11 of the ECFA and have been approved by the Legislative Yuan after deliberation.