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Mainland, Taiwan SME co-op stressed

2011-02-26 16:04

CHIAYI - Chen Yunlin, the Chinese mainland chief negotiator with Taiwan, discussed cooperation prospects on Friday with fishermen and farmers in Chiayi in southern Taiwan.

Chen, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), led a 50-member delegation and spoke at a seminar attended by more than 70 business people from both the mainland and Taiwan.

He said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on both sides "played an important role in cross-Straits economic development, employment and in maintaining social stability."

"Small- and medium-sized businesses are an important part of cross-Straits economic exchanges," he said, adding that among the more than 80,000 Taiwanese enterprises investing on the mainland, over 50 percent are small and medium-sized companies.

Chen said that efforts should be made to enhance cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises on the mainland and those in central and southern Taiwan.

The mainland delegation arrived in Chiayi from Kaohsiung after investigating the investment environment with local business leaders.

They arrived in Taipei on Wednesday at the invitation of Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Both the SEF and the ARATS are authorized by the two sides to handle cross-Straits affairs.

Chen said that since 2005, the mainland bought a large amount of farm and fishing products from Taiwan, which greatly boosted sales of Taiwanese products.

"Many renowned mainland distribution firms are present here at the seminar to seek cooperation opportunities with Taiwan's farmers and fishermen so that the sale of Taiwanese products on the mainland could increase steadily," he said.

Chiang said the farming and fishing industries were the most important sectors in southern Taiwan.

He added that the tax-reduction plan of the cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement's (ECFA) "early harvest" program, which took effect on Jan 1, covering 13 categories for farming products and five categories for fishing goods.

Chiang said the plan was an opportunity for the industry to expand its exports to the mainland.

He noted that the "early harvest" program's duty exemption also covered sectors like textiles, machinery components, and "all related to small- and medium-sized enterprises."

Chiang said Friday's seminar was meant to promote cooperation between smaller businesses across the Straits, to deepen the effect of the ECFA to benefit both sides. The mainland delegation will continue its trip in southern Taiwan and return to Taipei late Saturday.

They will visit Taipei's Neihu Industrial Park on Sunday before leaving the island on Monday.

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