CHINA / National

CPC, KMT to hold economic, trade forum
Updated: 2006-03-22 22:24

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang (KMT) party agreed here on Wednesday that a forum on economic and trade affairs between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will be held in Beijing from April 14 to 15.

The decision was made at talks held here Wednesday between Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, and a delegation of the think tank of Kuomintang.

The forum will be jointly sponsored by a research center of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and a research fund of Kuomintang. It will focus on cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges and opening direct transport link.

About 300 people, including high-level officials of the CPC and KMT and businessmen and scholars from the two sides of the Strait,will attend the forum, according to the talks.

The forum was originally scheduled to be held last December in Taipei. It was forced to change venue and time because of obstruction of the Taiwan authorities.

Chen said comprehensively promoting cross-Strait economic exchanges and cooperation and realizing direct, two-way and comprehensive three direct links of mail, trade and transport as early as possible are matters that benefit people on both sides of the Strait, especially Taiwan compatriots.

"We should put people's interests first and work to bring benefits to them," he said.

He said growing sale of Taiwan farm produce on the mainland, growing investment by Taiwan businessmen in the mainland and travel agencies all require direct transport links across the Strait.

"People will not be satisfied if their wishes are not met. They will not consent to prolonged obstruction of cross-Strait links," said Chen.

Cross-Strait exchanges have kept growing despite opposition of the Taiwan authorities. A total of 68,095 projects funded by Taiwan businessmen had been approved by the mainland by the end of 2005, with a contractual investment of 89.7 billion U.S. dollars from Taiwan.

The mainland is Taiwan's No. 1 export market and largest trade surplus source. Indirect cross-Straits trade volume had hit 495.81 billion dollars by the end of 2005, including 414.08 billion dollars of Taiwan export to the mainland.

Taiwan residents made 4 million visits to the mainland, while mainland residents made 160,000 visits to Taiwan in 2005.