Posted by: Dexter Roberts on December 19, 2008
Following the historic resumption of Cross-Straits daily direct links including air, shipping and postal on Dec. 15, China and Taiwan economic ties continue to warm. Today in Shanghai was the latest sign that the days of trading insults across the 160-kilometer-wide Strait at least for now, may be over.
That’s where delegates from the two sides are gathering to hold a two-day meeting to discuss growing financial and economic ties—the 4th Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum, which will run Dec. 20-21. In particular, Taiwanese banks are eager to begin buying stakes in Chinese financial institutions, as well as upgrade their China offices into full branches (they are only allowed to function as representative offices now.) This would allow them to better serve the 750,000 Taiwanese who live and do business on the mainland. At the same time, Chinese banks would like to set up representative offices in Taiwan.
The meeting brings together KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, honorary chairman and former premier of Taiwan Lien Chan—as well as around 150 more Taiwanese officials, business execs and academics—and the top Chinese official in charge of overseas Chinese Jia Qinglin. Following the election of Taiwan’s KMT president Ma Ying-jeou in May, the pace of warming has picked up markedly, a process that is expected to continue in the months ahead. With both China and Taiwan’s economies hit by the world economic slowdown, boosting economic ties is a clear priority.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week in Taipei, chairman Wu said that the two sides will also discuss the possibility of jointly investing in mainland and Taiwan infrastructure projects. “We will seek to expand bilateral exchanges in the financial and service industries,” he said. “We will also push for more bilateral trade exchanges.”