Thirty-one central and western mainland cities have been selected to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan companies, the spokeswoman for Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Wednesday.
The 31 selected cities, which will be developed as centers for labour-intensive processing trade industries, will benefit from preferential policies and financial support from the government to help them build necessary facilities, Fan Liqing said at a regular press conference in Beijing.
Between now and 2010, the government will spend 30 billion yuan ($4.37 billion) on infrastructure developments to help attract Taiwan firms to set up or expand existing operations on the mainland, she said.
Also by 2010, 19 more cities will be added to the program, taking the total to 50, the spokeswoman said.
"The government understands the importance of Taiwan companies based on the mainland and is keen to improve their investment and operating conditions", Fan said.
"We will also collect feedback from Taiwan companies before deciding on the final industrial structure," she added.
Taiwan companies are well aware of the major changes to the mainland's industrial policies, she said.
Also on Wednesday, Fan said that she welcomed the decision by Taiwan authorities to allow the mainland-based Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily to reopen press bureaus on the island.
"The rude and unreasonable practices of the Taiwan authorities, led by Chen Shui-bian, three years ago have finally been corrected," she said.
With the joint effort of news circles from the two sides, exchanges in the press sector will be enhanced to help improve understanding between people on both sides and promote the peaceful development of relations across the Straits.
In another development, Fan said that authorities on the mainland have now completed their preparations for the formal launch of the cross-Straits weekend chartered flights, which will start from July 4.
The six mainland carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Shanghai Airlines - are all ready to go, she said.
She added that as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, Nanjing has now also been named as a destination for the new cross-Straits flights.
(China Daily June 26, 2008)