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Small-, medium-sized service providers benefit from cross-Strait economic deal: ECC assessment

HANGZHOU, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- An assessment by the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) indicated that small- and medium-sized businesses were the major beneficiaries of service trade in September after the implementation of a landmark cross-Strait economic agreement.

According to a statement issued Tuesday at the second meeting of the ECC, an "early harvest program" worked well in both goods and service trade, benefiting small- and medium-sized service providers in particular.

During the January-September period, five Taiwanese accounting firms obtained licenses to engage in auditing in the mainland, while 82 companies were approved to set up sole proprietorships or joint ventures and 13 financial institutions received licenses, the statement said.

Five Taiwanese films were also imported to the once-closed market during the period, it added.

Meanwhile, 36 investments and 10 films from the mainland were approved to enter Taiwan, the statement said.

The statement also highlighted results in cutting tariffs, with duties worth more than 108 million U.S. dollars exempted during the first nine months of the year.

The ECC's second meeting in the capital city of east China's Zhejiang province was co-convened by Zheng Lizhong, vice president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, as well as Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian.

Jiang Yaoping, the mainland's vice commerce minister, and Francis Liang, Taiwan's senior economic official, co-chaired the meeting as the top representatives for both sides.

The "early harvest program" was the first step in implementing the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. The agreement was signed on June 29, 2010. Under the program, the Chinese mainland has reduced tariffs on 539 Taiwanese goods, while Taiwan has lowered duties on 267 goods from the mainland.

In addition, the Chinese mainland now allows Taiwanese companies to enter 11 service sectors, including accounting, banking and securities, while Taiwan has opened nine of its service sectors to mainland firms.