Cross-Straits activity on upward path

Updated: 2015-01-14 23:01

By He Na(

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Cross-Straits trade increased steadily as economic cooperation deepened in 2014, a spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said at a news briefing on Wednesday.

According to spokesman Ma Xiaoguang, cross-Straits two-way trade reached $198.3 billion, a year-on-year rise of 0.6 percent.

Exports from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan accounted for $46.28 billion of that, with imports valued at $152 billion imported from Taiwan. The Chinese mainland's trade deficit with Taiwan soared to $105.77 billion.

Zhang Zhijun, the head of the office, talked about the progress in a New Year's greeting saying that cross-Straits relations have encountered new conditions and problems in 2014, but the direction of peaceful development has not changed.

Cao Xiaoheng, director of Institute of Taiwan Economy at Nankai University, analyzed the difficulties in cross-Straits relations in an essay on a website dedicated to cross-Straits news,

"Cross-Straits relations made some progress in February after several official meetings and other meetings with private groups such as NGOs. But the situation worsened starting in March. Because of a lack of political and mutual trust and Taiwan's accumulated social problems, Taiwan started an anti-ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) movement," Cao wrote.

The movement resulted in the agreement being interrupted. Since then, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have carried out some negotiations, but no practical progress has been made to improve the situation, he said.

Even so, cross-Straits economic cooperation and personnel exchanges saw big increases last year.

According to the Taiwan Affairs Office, more than 9.41 million people made the trip between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in 2014 - a yearly increase of 16.52 percent and a record high.

Regular passenger flights cross-Straits increased from 828 to 840 weekly. The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan soared to 3.22 million, a yearly increase of 47 percent.

"To further provide convenience and promote cross-Straits personnel exchanges, the mainland added five new visa registration offices. Thee are now 41 offices," Ma said.

Ten more cities became eligible for individual tourism in Taiwan, with the total number of cities reaching 36, he said.

The number of weekly regular cargo flights increased from 68 to 84. A cross-Straits customs digital information exchange system launched last year, has aided customs efficiency, Ma said.

"Cross-Straits industrial cooperation also deepened last year. So far, entrepreneurs cross-Straits have reached 288 agreements in nine industries and have released 31 industrial criteria recognized by the two sides," he said. "In the new year, enterprises will have more cooperation in more fields, such as communications, automobiles, LEDs and renewable energy."

"The negotiation of a system for cross-Straits dispute settlement is also underway. We do hope more people cross-Straits can enjoy the fruits of expanding and deepening cross-Straits economic cooperation," he said.