FUZHOU – Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators signed two agreements concerning cross-Straits flight safety and taxation cooperation on Tuesday.
The agreements were signed by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) President Chen Deming and Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane during their talks in Fuzhou city.
The civil aviation agreement covered licensing for civil aviation organizations, products and personnel as well as flight standards and airworthiness certification. The two sides agreed to set up a reporting system and mechanism to coordinate responses to accidents and emergencies.
Based on this agreement, the negotiators discussed cooperation for investigating and handling civil air accidents.
The tax agreement outlined rules for income from cross-Straits economic exchanges. It also covered favorable tax rates for such activities and strategies to avoid double taxation.
The two sides also agreed to establish a system that would avoid discriminatory taxation.
According to Chen, the civil aviation agreement will make flying safer, reduce civil aviation costs and deepen cross-Straits exchanges in this industry, while the tax deal will reduce costs for enterprises and individuals and encourage cross-Straits direct investments.
ARATS Executive Vice President Zheng Lizhong said at a press conference after the agreements signing that a major feature of the taxation agreement is reciprocal arrangements for both sides to create a more stable, transparent and competitive environment for investors.
The agreement will also provide more convenient and efficient taxation services, equal taxation treatment and more effective dispute remedies, Zheng said.
Taiwan’s financial authority has estimated that the taxation agreement, once come into force, may save Taiwan businesses NT$3.9 billion ($120 million) in tax payments every year.
As for the civil aviation pact, Zheng said it is expected to expedite timely and necessary collaboration of the mainland and Taiwan in relevant fields to protect the personal and property safety for air passengers of the two sides.
Zhang Hongying, chief engineer of the Civil Aviation Administration, noted the agreement would help reduce costs.
“For example, with the agreements on civil aviation standards, cross-Straits flights do not need to bring their own machinists and spare parts. Instead, they can simply resort to local maintenance, ” he explained.
“As the number of cross-Straits tourists by plane increases, flight safety has become an important concern of both sides,” said Che Shanglun, board chairman of Xiamen Airlines. “With smoother contact and closer collaboration in both regular operations and emergencies, flights across the Strait will also fly smoother and safer.”
During Tuesday’s talks, the two sides agreed to continue negotiation on issues such as the agreement of cross-Straits trade in goods under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), arrangements to allow mainland travelers’ layovers in Taiwan and the two organizations’ setting up offices on each other’s side.
Topics also included cooperation in environmental protection and exchanges in education, culture and science and technology fields.
Cross-Straits relations have been developing stably since the last round of talks last year, although there have been some frustrations, Chen said in a speech before the talks.
He said talks between the two organizations constitute an important avenue to promote peaceful development of cross-Straits ties and people’s livelihoods.
Agreements signed at previous talks have facilitated exchanges across the Strait and enhanced mutual benefits. “Facts have proved that the negotiations between the mainland and Taiwan have brought benefits to the general public and various sectors on both sides,” the ARATS chief said.
Lin said in his speech that the two sides’ resolve to promote peace and prosperity across the Strait is unshaken despite some difficulties.
Both sides have called for further talks and development of cross-Straits ties on the basis of the “1992 Consensus”.
At Tuesday afternoon’s press conference, Zheng expressed hope that the two new agreements will take effect and get implemented as soon as possible.
In response to a question on a previous service trade pact, which was signed by the two sides in 2013 but has yet to be approved in Taiwan, Zheng expressed his disappointment as both sides have made “tremendous efforts” in reaching the agreement and it is supposed to bring benefit to people on both sides especially those in Taiwan.
“We hope that Taiwan would finish relevant procedures for the pact at an earliest possible date,” he said.