In an exclusive interview with China.org.cn, Chin Ching-sheng, secretary-general of Taiwan's People First Party (PFP), enthused about the positive investment and finance climate that Taiwan-funded companies now enjoyed in the mainland and promised that closer mainland-Taiwan relations would bring about positive economic development of the whole Asia-Pacific region.
He stated that the mainland has become Taiwan's No.1 export market, with Taiwan standing as the mainland's second largest import market, a reminder of the economic symbiosis existing across the Straits.
"Trade between the mainland and Taiwan reached a record US$107.8 billion in 2006, breaking the US$100 billion barrier for the first time with an 18.2 percent year-on-year rise," Chin said.
"Last year, Taiwan imported US$3.36 billion goods from the mainland, accounting for 11 percent of its total import. The major areas covered included electric machinery and accessories, mining fuels, toys and sports products," he said. "Meanwhile, exports to the mainland were principally electric machinery and accessories, optical products, plastic products and organic chemical products."
Chin explained to China.org.cn that in April last year, officials from the mainland and Taiwan held a forum that produced 15 preferential policies for Taiwan exporters. Agricultural cooperation was also debated at an October meeting at which a further 20 policies were hammered out.
He also touched upon the progress last year in terms of mail, trade and transport services across the Straits with, for example, the introduction of regular chartered flights for holidays and special cargoes.
The National Association of Taiwan Businessmen, the first of its kind on the mainland, convened for the first time in Beijing on April 16. It is comprised of around 100 local associations of Taiwan-funded enterprises extending to 25 mainland provinces.
Chin praised the association's creation, saying "It will definitely promote the economic development of Taiwan and the mainland. Through it, the rights and interests of our companies will be better protected.
"Companies and enterprises face many difficulties, such as the current political situation in Taiwan, the slowly-improving of investment climate and the education of investors' children on the mainland. The association can help promote improvements in these fields."
He also urged Taiwan-funded enterprises to help deepen cooperation with the mainland in terms of scientific improvement.
"Our companies must be more open. The world is changing fast, and we must update our industry to keep up. We should enhance cooperation on the research and utilization of high technology," he said.
Related: New Party: Cooperation Is Key in Cross-Straits Progress
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Wang Ke, April 29, 2007)