Mainland chief negotiator wraps up Taiwan tour

Updated: 2013-12-03 22:03


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TAIPEI - The Chinese mainland's chief negotiator Chen Deming visited Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group's headquarters in New Taipei City on Tuesday, wrapping up his eight-day tour to Taiwan.

Chen and his business delegation left Taiwan for the mainland after visiting the high-tech firm.

At the invitation of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Chen, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), arrived in the island on November 26, leading the delegation.

It was his first visit to the island as ARATS president. The ARATS and the SEF are authorized by both sides to handle cross-Strait issues. The principal agenda of the trip was to "seek cooperation opportunities from the island's further economic liberation," according to Chen.

Chen said Foxconn has upgraded from a pure contract manufacturer to an integral solution provider prioritizing research and development.

The chief negotiator said he was pleased that Foxconn already partnered with mainland research institutes in pursuing technological innovations.

"I was mostly impressed by the carbon nano-tube technology the company is working on together with mainland-based Tsinghua University," Chen said.

Foxconn, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia, has plants across several mainland cities.

During the visit, the delegation visited the ports of Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. Delegates studied Taiwan's free economic pilot zones, which play a big part in the island's export-oriented economy.

They also visited agricultural, industrial and science parks, as well as fast-growing enterprises in several cities, including Taipei, Pingtung, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Hsinchu.

Delegates discovered opportunities during the tour.

Jian Danian, deputy director of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone Administration, said he hoped the Shanghai zone can work with the Port of Taichung to improve international transshipment volume.

Zhao Guoqing, co-chairman of online retailer in the mainland, identified business opportunities after visiting Pingtung's agricultural high-tech park.

"Taiwan has quality agricultural products, while the mainland has a vast market for them. We will explore ways to connect the two through B2B [business-to-business] channels," Zhao said.

Li Lihui, president of Bank of China, expects closer cooperation between financial institutions across the Strait, arguing if mainland and Taiwan banks work together in offering loans to Taiwanese businesses going global, they can land bigger investment or merger projects.

"Chen has first-hand knowledge about Taiwan's businesses, agricultural industry and labor conditions. He has made friends with people from all sectors in Taiwan, which will help him in promoting cross-Strait relationships as ARATS president," said Cheng You-ping, political science professor with the Taipei University.