CHINA> National
Mainland companies urged to invest in Taiwan
By Xie Yu and Hu Meidong (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-05-18 08:08

XIAMEN: The mainland will urge businesses to visit Taiwan to discuss investment plans amid efforts to help the island cope with the global economic downturn, the mainland's Taiwan affairs director Wang Yi said Sunday.

The Commerce Ministry and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council will jointly issue a circular on procedures for mainland businesses should they intend to invest in Taiwan, Wang said.

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Two purchasing groups will visit Taiwan this year to buy fruits, vegetables, aquatic products and processed farm products. Three more trips will be organized in May, June and July to buy consumer goods, food and craft products.

Other policies to emerge from the forum included encouraging Taiwan businesses to expand their markets on the mainland, pushing forward with the signing of an economic cooperation agreement, allowing Taiwan law firms to open branches in Fuzhou and Xiamen cities, beefing up agricultural cooperation across the Straits, opening up 11 more spheres of professional qualification tests to Taiwan residents and encouraging 600,000 mainland citizens to visit Taiwan this year.

In Taiwan, Deng Chen-Chung, the island's "deputy minister of Economic Affairs", said the policies could further the negotiation and signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), a framework Taiwan has wanted for a long time so it can cut tariffs and expand trade with the mainland.

"It's a pretty good thing," the island's Central News Agency (CNA) quoted Deng as saying.

He also said both sides of the Straits had been preparing for negotiations for the ECFA, the Taiwan-based media reported.

The proposed ECFA would be "similar to a free trade agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits", the island-based China Post paper explained.

Chang said the Council of Agriculture is also planning to invite mainland merchants to Taiwan to purchase more agricultural products in September, according to a CNA interview.

Taiwan-based United Daily called the new policies "substantial" for Taiwan's development and looks forward to them enhancing Taiwan's economy.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said earlier this month that he may talk political issues with the mainland if he wins another term in 2012, while before that he would mainly seek economic cooperation with the mainland.

Liu Guoshen, head of the Taiwan Institute at Xiamen University, said the mainland would understand and respect Ma's position.

"The kindness shown by the mainland and the favorable policies toward Taiwan will enhance economic cooperation," Liu said.

"As the understanding deepens between people across the Straits, political issues will finally find their way out," he said.

"Taiwan independence is impossible, so the focus for both sides should be on working toward happiness for people across the Taiwan Straits," Liu said.