The Chinese mainland introduced a package of policies Sunday to strengthen ties with Taiwan in the areas of the economy, science, culture and education.
Four banking institutions from the mainland — including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank — will offer a credit of 600 billion yuan US$95 billion) to Taiwanese-invested businesses in the mainland, announced Wang Yi, director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.
The mainland will also open the door to imports of rice from Taiwan, Wang said at the fourth Straits Forum in southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, in Fujian province.
The mainland's National Tourism Bureau will take measures to realize the target of 1.8 million Taiwan-bound tourists this year.
Residents in another 11 cities in the neighboring Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces west of the Taiwan Strait will be allowed to visit Taiwan's Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands as independent tourists, in addition to the nine cities in Fujian.
The mainland's public security authority will double the validity of Taiwan residents' entry permit to the mainland from one year to two years.
To deepen scientific cooperation, the National Natural Science Foundation of China will launch a "union fund of promoting scientific cooperation across the strait" with Fujian province, according to Wang.
All natural science research programs across the strait can apply for money from the fund, which will have an annual investment of 30 million yuan (US$4.7 million), he said.
It is expected that more Taiwan residents will work in mainland companies and public institutions as a result of preferential employment policies also announced on Sunday at the forum. Taiwanese people have the same rights to work at Chinese businesses as their mainland counterparts, said Wang.
Taiwanese students who have graduated from a mainland university will now have the right to work in Chinese public institutions, including colleges and universities, cultural and medical institutions in six pilot locations.
The fourth Straits Forum, which opened on Saturday in Xiamen, facing Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait, runs until Friday.