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Chinese mainland, Taiwan establish economic cooperation committee
BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland and Taiwan on Thursday jointly established an economic cooperation committee to handle issues related to the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

The mainland and Taiwan agreed in their landmark economic pact reached last year that the two sides would set up such a committee.

Through negotiations between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), ARATS Executive Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong and SEF Vice Chairman Kao Kong-lian were designated the committee's conveners, said a statement issued by the ARATS on Thursday.

The mainland's chief representative to the committee is Jiang Zengwei, who is the ARATS special advisor and vice minister of commerce, other delegates include the ARATS council members and experts from the Commerce Ministry, State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, National Development and Reform Commission and Industry and Information Technology Ministry, Finance Ministry, General Administration of Customs, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Taiwan's chief representative to the committee is Francis Kuo-Hsin Liang, an official from Taiwan's economic affairs authority, according to the statement.

The two sides agreed that more delegates could be added to the committee if necessary in the future, it said.

The committee will hold a regular meeting every six months and necessary interim meetings by consent of the two sides, said Fan Liqing, State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman.

The committee will promote more cross-Strait economic agreements under the framework of the ECFA, she added.

The mainland and Taiwan made their first step in furthering economic ties by implementing the ECFA's "early harvest program" on Jan. 1 this year.

Under the program, the Chinese mainland is to reduce tariffs on 539 Taiwanese goods while Taiwan will drop duties on 267 mainland goods. The two sides will enjoy zero tax for exports of hundreds of goods by 2012.

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