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Cross-Strait economic, trade forum to be held
2006-04-12 20:25:39 Xinhua English
BEIJING, April 12(Xinhua)-- The Communist Party of China(CPC) and the Chinese Kuomintang(KMT), or the Nationalist Party will hold a forum on economic and trade affairs between the mainland and Taiwan on April 14 and 15 in Beijing.

The forum was the implementation of the five common aspiration and prospects reached by Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and then KMT Chairman Lien Chan in April last year, said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, here on Wednesday.

The forum was originally scheduled for last December in Taipei. But it had to change venue and time for reasons known to all, Chen said.

The forum, at the joint sponsorship of a research center of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and a research fund of the KMT, will focus on cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges and opening direct transport links.

About 500 people, including KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan,four vice-chairmen of the KMT, officials of the New Party and the People First Party(PFP), as well as business people, officials and scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, will attend the forum.

Hu Jintao will meet with Lien Chan during the forum. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference(CPPCC) and Lien Chan will deliver keynote speeches at the opening ceremony.

"The convention of the cross-Strait forum on economic and trade affairs is essential and pressing, as cross-Strait economic cooperation and exchanges have been developed for more than 20 years," said Chen.

An estimated 68,000 projects on the mainland are funded by over 50,000 Taiwanese companies with a contractual investment of more than 90 billion US dollars.

Direct and indirect cross-Strait trade is worth approximately 500 billion US dollars annually and the Chinese mainland is Taiwan's biggest export market and largest trade surplus source.

The booming economic and trade cooperation created new issues that required to be solved through cross-Strait talks, Chen said.

With economic globalization and regional integration, the cross-Strait economy faced both opportunities and challenges, and authorities should remove obstructions and grasp opportunities, Chen said.

Since the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress(NPC) raised the"three direct links"-- direct mail, transport and trade links-- in 1979, direct mail and trade links had developed well, while the direct transport had failed to progress,Chen said.

"Realizing direct transport across the Taiwan Strait is in compliance with the wishes and common interests of the people across the Strait.

Direct transport across the Strait is a necessity for up to four million Taiwan compatriots to travel, do business and visit relatives on the mainland, is the necessity for mainlanders to travel Taiwan and will help reduce the transport costs of Taiwan produce sold on the mainland," Chen said.

Civil airlines had resolved technical issues of the direct transport link, which needed only the approval of Taiwan authorities, said Chen, adding that"The direct cross-Strait transport was set to be one of the major issues to be discussed during the forum." Enditem

Editor:

Lu Hui

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