China, Taiwan sign accords to boost direct travel, trade

By Xinhua,

Taipei : China and Taiwan Tuesday signed four agreements to boost direct trade and travel across the Taiwan Strait.

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The mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) president, Chen Yunlin, and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, Chiang Pin-kung, signed agreements on direct shipping and flights, postal services and food safety during their first summit in Taipei Tuesday.

Direct flight from Taipei to Shanghai is only about 80 minutes but, under current weekend charter flight service, lasts two hours and 42 minutes as the planes have to fly over Hong Kong.

The two sides agreed to launch a cargo charter flight service between two mainland terminals, Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou airports, and two in Taiwan, Taoyuan and Kaohsiung.

Chen and Chiang also discussed ways to increase the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan, making joint efforts to deal with the international financial crisis, and expanding economic exchanges across the Straits.

According to the agreement on direct post, mail services including letters and parcels delivery, express mail services and postal remittance, will be made available across the Straits, while other forms of postal services will also be strengthened.

Both sides across the Taiwan Straits will provide each other with food safety updates and food trade information, and establish a mechanism to deal with major food safety incidents.

“With the four agreements, direct transport and mail services that compatriots on both sides have been longing for over the past 30 years has become a reality, and will provide more convenient channels for cross-Straits economic exchanges,” said Chen.

Chen said that the ARATS and the SEF would focus on discussions about the cross-Straits financial collaborations in the next stage of talks, while expanding cultural and social exchanges would also be on the agenda.