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Former commerce chief to lead cross-Straits body | Updated: 2013-04-26 14:07

BEIJING - China's former top commerce official Chen Deming took up the baton as the top cross-Straits negotiator on Friday.

Former commerce chief to lead cross-Straits body
File photo of Chen Deming taken on March 8, 2013. [Photo by Jiang Dong/ Asianewsphoto]

Experts said the veteran trade specialist can help implement existing business deals and boost trade between the mainland and Taiwan.

Chen, the former commerce minister, was elected president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, a non-governmental organization entrusted by the Chinese mainland authorities to engage in cross-Straits talks.

Chen, 64, worked at the ministry for the past five years after resigning as deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner.

It is rare for a trade official to head the association, which was led by Chen Yunlin.

Yu Xintian, a Taiwan expert in Shanghai, said exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan need more commercial specialists to work out details on cooperation and settle possible trade disputes.

The ARATS had held eight rounds of talks with its island counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation, and has concluded 18 deals, most of which were in the field of economics.

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