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Mainland Drops Taiwan Fruit Tariffs

The Ministry of Commerce announced yesterday that it would drop import tariffs on 15 categories of Taiwan-grown fruit from August 1 after the island's authorities refused to send envoys to talks scheduled to be held in Xiamen, Fujian Province on Wednesday.

The unilateral measure was first offered by the mainland in early May following the visit of Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan.

A ministry spokesperson said yesterday that government departments have made preparations for Taiwanese farmers to sell their produce on the mainland market as the fruit harvest begins.

The 15 kinds of fruit covered are pineapples, lychees, papayas, starfruit, mangos, guavas, wax apples, betel nuts, pomelos, jujubes, coconuts, loquats, plums, peaches and persimmons.

Customs will make public the procedure for importing the fruit later and quality supervision departments will take measures to facilitate it, said a commerce ministry spokesperson.

He also urged Taiwan's authorities to help their fruit-growers solve any problems arising from implementation of the policy.

On Saturday, Li Shuilin, chairman of the Cross Strait Association for Economic and Trade Communication, had invited non-governmental organizations designated by Taiwan's authorities, the Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association and other non-governmental agricultural organizations to Wednesday's talks.

Chen Yunlin, minister of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said allowing the entry of Taiwanese fruit tariff-free was a concrete effort by the mainland to promote the interests of compatriots across the Straits.

(China Daily July 29, 2005)

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