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Direct Air, Shipping Links to Save $1b: Taiwan Scholar
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If the direct links of air and shipping services across the Taiwan Straits can be realized, at least 31 billion NT dollars (US$1 billion) of cost will be saved.

Chu-Chia Lin, a professor from Taiwan's Chengchi University made the remark Saturday at the ongoing Cross-Straits Economic and Trade Forum in Beijing.

The Chinese mainland has been urging for the "three direct links" in mail, transport and trade across the Straits since 1979. The Taiwan authorities, however, are unwilling to cooperate under the pretext of "security concerns" and "technical issues."

If direct shipping links can be realized, a total of 840 million NT dollars will be saved, and if direct flight can be realized, transport cost worth 30.19 billion NT dollars will be saved, Lin said according to his calculation.

As the trade and personnel exchanges across the Taiwan Straits become more frequent, the figures are still conservative and underestimated, he said.

The indirect transport is one of the major obstacles restricting the competitiveness of Taiwan's products and enterprises, he said.

The huge costs brought by the indirect flight and shipment make Taiwan impossible to become a regional economic center, and reduce Taiwan's attraction to external investment, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2006)

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