Cho Shih-chao, director general of Taiwan`s Bureau of Foreign Trade, said in Tianjin that Taiwan and China may reach an agreement on setting up economic and trade offices in each other`s side in August when the second cross-strait economic cooperation meeting for this year will take place, with insiders in Beijing also already confirming the possibility.
When the agreement is signed, Cho said, 10 existing service stations of the semi-official institute Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) will be upgraded into the status of economic and trade offices to provide better trade information and services in the future. Also, he suggested that the TAITRA set up a new branch in Tianjin, and expand workforce there.
In fact, establishing economic and trade offices in each other`s territory has been regarded as the top issue in the cross-strait economic cooperation meeting semiannually held between Taiwan and China; however, the both sides failed to reach any conclusion on the issue at the year`s first meeting taking place in Taipei on February 22.
While already discussing with TAITRA Chairman Wang Chih-kang over the upgrading of TAITRA`s service stations in China into economic and trade offices, Cho said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has also outlined the cross-strait trade bridge-building project, planning to hold a total of 12 meetings between enterprises and investors by the end of this year, with nine ones to be held in Taiwan, and the others in China.
Worth mentioning is that the cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China have quickly improved over the past few years, which can also be reflected in Taiwan`s successful request for renaming its representative offices in Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions of China, as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Macau. The representative office in Hong Kong was formerly known as the Chung Hwa Travel Service in the past due mainly to political hostility.