Fujian government seeks exchange with Taiwan
Updated: 2011-03-10 08:45
By Hu Meidong and Wang Qian (China Daily)
BEIJING - The top Taiwan affairs official of East China's Fujian province has called for closer agricultural cooperation and exchanges with Taiwan.
Head of the Fujian provincial Taiwan affairs office Deng Benyuan said the province will introduce measures to strengthen agricultural cooperation across the Straits.
"Fujian, which faces Taiwan across the Straits, has always been a pioneer in introducing investment from Taiwan in the agricultural and forestry sectors," Deng, a deputy of the National People's Congress, told China Daily on the sidelines of the annual session of the top legislature.
"Fujian's geographical advantage has led to an investment (by Taiwan) of about $1.7 billion a year."
During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, Fujian attracted nearly $8.5 billion in investment from Taiwan, with an annual average growth of more than 20 percent, government statistics show.
Deng said Fujian's priority is to build more development parks for Taiwan farmers in Fuqing under the jurisdiction of the provincial capital Fuzhou, Nan'an city in Quanzhou prefecture and Sanming city.
Several coastal markets for agricultural products will also be created to improve the flow of commodities across the Straits, he said.
As of the end of 2010, Fujian authorities had permitted 2,204 Taiwan-funded agricultural programs and introduced more than 2,500 kinds of seeds to the province.
And Fujian is poised to receive more investment from Taiwan. The central government included the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, signed with Taiwan in 2010, and the task of procuring investment from Taiwan into the Haixi Economic Zone into the draft of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).
The economic zone comprises Fujian and 11 neighboring cities in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces.
Fujian has set up four development parks for Taiwan farmers.
President Hu Jintao sent Chinese New Year's greetings in a letter to the Taiwan farmers working in two development parks in Fujian's Zhangpu county and Zhangping city in January, expressing the hope more Taiwan farmers will visit the mainland for tourism and business.
It was a reply to a letter the farmers sent Hu on Jan 20.
Hwang Rueibao, a 57-year-old Taiwan florist and deputy director of Fujian Zhangpu Development Park for Taiwan Farmers, which houses more than 240 Taiwan investors, spoke highly of Fujian's importance to cross-Straits economic ties.
He said Fujian is one of the best places for Taiwan farmers to expand their businesses, because it is geographically close to Taiwan and its natural environment is similar to the island's.
"More importantly, the cultural environment is familiar to me as a descendant of Fujian people. We speak the same dialect and eat the same food," he said.
Hwang told China Daily he has been managing his orchid planting base in the park since 2007.
On Feb 12, 2010, Hu paid a visit to his company, which brought Taiwan's advanced flower planting technology to the mainland.
"I have been seeking business opportunities on the mainland since the early 1990s, as the increasingly preferential policies have continued to attract more Taiwan investors," he said.
"It would be even better if expanded in the future."
Peng Yining contributed to this story.
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