CHINA> National
Taiwan firms get $19b loan lifeline
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-22 07:32

Shanghai - Three banks will lend 130 billion yuan ($19 billion) to Taiwan businesses on the mainland to help them cope with the global financial turmoil in three years, a top official with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Sunday.

Jia Qinglin (left), member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, and Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-Hsiung shake hands after the closing ceremony of the Fourth Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum in Shanghai, December 21, 2008. [China Daily]

The bank loans were part of 10 mainland policies in support of Taiwan-funded enterprises announced on Sunday by Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at the closing ceremony of the Fourth Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum.

"To help Taiwan businesses raise funds, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China have made provisions for credit lines of 50 billion yuan each," he said.

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China Development Bank, which approved loans of 30 billion yuan in 2005, will provide another 30 billion yuan, Wang added.

The forum was attended by Jia Qinglin, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, Wu Poh-Hsiung, chairman of Kuomintang (KMT), and Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the KMT, as well as around 400 experts, government officials and businesspeople.

Preferential tax policies for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) on the mainland will be extended to those from Taiwan, Wang said.

To aid the TV flat panel display industry in Taiwan, which is bearing the brunt of the current crisis, mainland enterprises have decided to buy more flat panels - and a $2 billion deal has been sealed, Wang said. "We will also support and help Taiwan businesses in technological upgrading," he said.

A team will be formed today with experts from both sides which will advise on government policies, industry information, intellectual property rights and personnel training.

"We encourage and support Taiwan businesses to participate in central and provincial science and technology plans on innovation," Wang said.

As part of increased collaboration in agriculture, special farming parks will be built in Nanjing of Jiangsu province, Shantou of Guangdong province, and Kunming of Yunnan province, which will be financially supported by China Export Import Bank," Wang said.

Taiwan compatriots will also be approved to work as lawyers, according to a regulation which is expected to be passed soon, he said.

Tseng Yung-chuan, vice-chairman of the KMT said: "The cross-Straits relationship has entered a new era, making it possible for the two sides to enhance cooperation and jointly combat the financial crisis.

"Specifically, we should work out proper measures to support each other in the financial and economic fields, and help Taiwan-funded SMEs in financing," he said.

The two sides also expressed keenness in taking part in each other's infrastructure building, and expand direct flight and shipping links which were established recently.

Simon Tu Shih-Ming, executive director of Shanghai Shengong Environmental Protection Company, said that he was very encouraged by the measures, especially the 130 billion loan. "I believe it will be helpful for Taiwan businesses to survive the bad economic situation," he said.