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Fresh Preferential Policies to Benefit Taiwan farmers
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Beijing is set to introduce more preferential policies for Taiwan farmers next week, a senior mainland official said yesterday.

He Shizhong, director of the Economic Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the incentives will be unveiled at an agricultural forum in south China's Hainan Province.

"The mainland will introduce some policies and measures to enhance cross-Straits agricultural cooperation," he told a regular press conference.

He did not specify what the policy package will be, but stressed that it will provide a "new starting point" for closer and higher-level agricultural exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan.

The new offer comes as another major effort by Beijing to benefit Taiwan farmers in central and southern parts of the island.

Since last May, Beijing has taken a number of goodwill gestures towards Taiwan farmers, including tariff-free imports of about 30 varieties of Taiwan-grown fruits, vegetables and aquatic products.

He said the Cross-Straits Agricultural Cooperation Forum will be held in Boao, Hainan. It will be followed by an exhibition on cross-Straits agricultural cooperation achievements, which will be staged in Xiamen, Fujian Province, from October 19 to 20.

The two events are part of inter-party exchanges between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT), which were started following CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao's historic meeting with KMT Chairman Lien Chan in May last year.

The events "are of significance to improving cross-Straits relations and achieving a win-win situation for both sides of the Straits," He said.

The official said 400 delegates from Taiwan and the mainland will attend the agricultural forum, and the exhibition in Xiamen will draw more than 4,000 people, including about 1,700 from Taiwan.

Taiwan's main opposition parties, including the KMT, People First Party and New Party, will send delegations to the two events.

The agricultural forum had been originally planned in Taipei in late October but had to be relocated to the mainland due to the DPP administration's refusal to approve the visit of Beijing's top official on cross-Straits affairs.

It was the second time in a year for the DPP administration to refuse the visit of Chen Yunlin, minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, who had planned to attend the Taipei event.

(China Daily October 12, 2006)

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