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Taiwan businessmen request direct transport by cross-strait talk
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Taiwan-based businessmen have asked the Taiwan authority to allow direct air and marine transport to the mainland to be again discussed in an upcoming cross-strait talk.

Ten business delegates on the island handed in a petition to Ma Ying-jeou, current leader of the Taiwan authority, on Thursday, urging the official to realize his promise made in this year's leadership election.

The merchants headed by Lin Sun-san, vice president of Evergreen Group, stressed the great importance of direct transport to the mainland for the Taiwan companies and the island's economic development when meeting Ma in Taipei.

"Direct air and marine transport to the mainland will not only benefit Taiwan's transport companies," Lin said. "It will also reduce costs and increase efficiency for producers on both sides and eventually benefit Taiwan's people."

Chen Yunlin, president of mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will lead a delegation to Taiwan from November 3 to 7 to meet leader of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

It will be the first meeting held in the island between the two organizations and the second contact for their current leaders.

Lin said Taiwan's business circle also hoped that currency exchange, income tax and other issues could be discussed and resolved by the two organizations as soon as possible.

The petition was also co-signed by Taiwan's four guilds composed by the island's shipping and airline companies who expected the cross-strait talk could agree to open seaports to each other and more freedom for business.

For air transport, the companies hoped the two sides could agree to adopt direct air flights and increase the amount. They also expected entry to each other's airspace and that airline companies may establish branches on both sides of the strait.

Lin reported Ma Ying-jeou as saying he had been aware of the will of Taiwan's shipping and airline companies and would give firm support to the cross-strait talk.

The leader also said his administration would carry out the agreement achieved in the talk with all-out effort.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2008)

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