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Chinese mainland to further promote direct trade with Taiwan
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Chinese mainland will effectively push forward direct trade with Taiwan and construct a cooperative trade mechanism between the two sides on the basis of a "one China" policy, said Commerce Minister Chen Deming in Beijing on Saturday.

Chen said this year concrete efforts will be made to boost economic cooperation between the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, improve the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) mechanism and step up the opening of service sectors.

CEPA was signed and revised by the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao to strengthen economic ties.

Last year, the ministry further removed tariffs of Taiwan agricultural products, exerted a more relaxed policy on small-scale spot trade, and strengthened cross-Straits trade ties through exhibitions, among other measures, to progress trade.

In the first 11 months of 2007, 2,993 Taiwan-funded projects, with an actually utilized investment of 1.43 billion U.S. dollars, were approved by the mainland. By the end of November, the mainland had drawn some 45.33 billion U.S. dollars of cumulative direct investments from Taiwan.

Statistics from the Taiwan authorities showed that, from January to October, Taiwan traders invested a record 7.66 billion U.S. dollars in the mainland. The full-year figure was expected to reach 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Taiwan merchants also showed more interest in the mainland's comparatively undeveloped central and western areas. Western provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Guangxi, Guizhou and Chongqing, attracted far more investment from Taiwan than previous.

Currently, the Chinese mainland remains Taiwan's largest export market and the largest importer of Hong Kong products.

Trade volume between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland increased 18.8 percent to 197.25 billion U.S. dollars. Between Taiwan and the mainland, the figure was up 15.4 percent to 124.48 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, according to customs figures.

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2008)

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