The Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks were held in Taichung on December 22, 2009. During the talks, the two sides signed three agreements, including the "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation in Agricultural Product Quarantine and Inspection," "Cross-Strait Agreement on the Cooperation in Respect of Fishing Crew Affairs," and "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation in Respect of Standards, Metrology, Inspection and Accreditation."
Major Results of the Talks
Signing three agreements
During the talks, the two sides signed three agreements, including the "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation in Agricultural Product Quarantine and Inspection," "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation in Respect of Standards, Metrology, Inspection and Accreditation," and "Cross-Strait Agreement on the Cooperation in Respect of Fishing Crew Affairs." On the issue of "Cooperation on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Strengthening of Tax Cooperation," the relevant authorities on both sides have been communicating and negotiating steadily during this period and have reached consensus on the main contents. However, further communications and discussions are needed between officials of the two sides on the more technical issues. It is hoped that the negotiations in this regard can be completed and the agreement promptly signed and implemented in the near future to help eliminate double taxation across the Taiwan Strait, improve the competitive conditions for Taiwanese businesses, and further attract transnational corporations(INCs) to invest in Taiwan. The three agreements signed by both sides at the Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks are directly related to the rights and interests of the people. The "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation of Agricultural Product Quarantine and Inspection" and "Cross-Strait Agreement on Cooperation in Respect of Standards, Metrology, Inspection and Accreditation," in addition to the "Cross-strait Food Safety Agreement" signed at the second Chiang-Chen Talks, form a safety net to protect the health and consumer safety of the people of Taiwan with regards to the cross-strait trade of various goods (including food, agriculture and fishery products, animal feedstuffs and general industrial products). The "Cross-Strait Agreement on the Cooperation in Respect of Fishing Crew Affairs" leaves the current "offshore employment" policy unchanged, while, creating a more institutionalized and secure basis for the employment of Mainland fishing crews through the negotiation of a more sound management mechanism.
Reviewing and expanding the implementation achievements of previous agreements
The two sides also reviewed the implementation of the nine agreements signed at the previous three Chiang-Chen Talks. In particular, they exchanged views on Mainland tourist visits to Taiwan, increasing the number of cross-strait flights, providing assistance related to the melamine-tainted milk incident, jointly fighting crime, promoting Mainland investment in Taiwan, and establishing a renminbi clearance mechanism. The two sides will continue to discuss improvements through the established channels and platforms.
Reaching consensus on issues for follow-up negotiations
The fifth talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) in the first half of next year will focus mainly on the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), as well as address the issue of protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).
Significance of the Talks
Benchmark of stability in the Taiwan Strait
Since the resumption of institutionalized liaison channels between the SEF and the ARATS, the two sides have held four Chiang-Chen Talks, signed 12 agreements, and reached one consensus, thus turning a new page in cross-strait relations. The Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks have made clear that institutionalized negotiations between the SEF and the ARATS now have entered a stabilized phase. This signifies that cross-strait relations are developing orderly towards benign interactions, which can help establish a secure and stable environment for national development.
It is also a benchmark for the protecting peace and stability across the Strait.
Safeguarding the core value of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people"
"Putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people" is the highest guiding principle in current cross-strait interactions. "Putting Taiwan first" means protecting Taiwan-centric identity. The four Chiang-Chen Talks have proceeded under the principle of "equality and dignity" and developed a new negotiation model for gradually expanding official interactions. They have not only pragmatically resolved various issues stemming from cross-strait exchanges, but they have also highlighted the position of equality and mutual non-denial between the two sides. "For the benefit of the people" means that the good results of cross-strait negotiations should be enjoyed by all of the people. The negotiation issues at the Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks are vital to protecting the rights and interests of the Taiwan people, strengthening the international competitiveness of Taiwan’s industries, and upgrading Taiwan's position in international division-of-labor networks. As with the previous three Chiang-Chen Talks, the fruits of this round of negotiations will be jointly shared by all of the people.
Prioritizing the economy and livelihood of the people
The three agreements signed at the Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks all concern economic issues that urgently require priority handling to respond to the development of cross-strait economic and trade relations and strengthen the order of cross-strait economic and trade exchanges. They further realize the spirit of prioritizing the economy and livelihood of the people in cross-strait negotiations and facilitate the normalized and institutionalized development of cross-strait economic and trade relations.
Over the past 19 months, Taiwan has worked hard through institutionalized negotiations to improve cross-strait relations and promote cross-strait and regional peace and stability. These efforts have already won the unanimous support of the international community. In the future, Taiwan will continue to adhere to the principle of "economic issues first and political issues later," "easy issues first and difficult issues later," and "urgent issues first and less pressing issues later." Priority will be given to negotiations on handling issues related to the livelihood of the people and economic development. This is aimed at making join efforts to create a win-win outcome for both sides to benefit the people across the Taiwan Strait. It is also hoped that the two sides can continue, through institutionalized negotiation mechanism, to create historic opportunities for the welfare of the people on both sides and benign cross-strait interactions, jointly promote the development of cross-strait relations towards peace and stability, and create lasting peace in the region.