Taiwan asked to cooperate with free trade zone

Updated: 2013-10-29 09:00


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Taiwan asked to cooperate with free trade zone

Containers are piled up at Waigaoqiao Port in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone on Friday. Chen Fei / Xinhua

The mainland and Taiwan adopted 19 joint proposals at the Ninth Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum, one of which encourages the island to cooperate with the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

The proposal, announced by John Chiang, vice-chairman of the Kuomintang, calls for cooperation between a pilot free economic area in Taiwan and the Shanghai Free Trade Zone as well as with three other pilot economic areas in eastern Fujian and Jiangsu provinces.

The free economic zones established by the two sides should cooperate and learn from each other to achieve common development, according to the proposal.

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which began operating in late September, is a 28.78-square-kilometer district billed as a test site for deepening market-oriented reforms.

Wu Poh-hsiung, KMT honorary chairman, said during his speech at the closing ceremony on Sunday he was delighted that both Taiwan and Shanghai have planned or established free trade zones and pilot free economic areas.

"We anticipate that the mainland and Taiwan will also consider cooperation opportunities in this field to give us more power to create a prosperous future," he said.

The forum, a key platform for communication between the mainland and Taiwan, ended on Sunday in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

With closer cross-Straits economic cooperation, the two sides should explore ways to keep pace with the Asia-Pacific region's economic integration, participants at the forum said.

The 19 proposals, which also cover cross-Straits cooperation in technology, finance, agriculture, education and tourism, are important and achievable, said Zhang Zhijun, the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief. The proposals reflect an urgency from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to stay competitive within international economic and scientific fields. The proposals will also provide a useful reference point for policymakers, said Zhang, head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

Zhang said both sides should seize opportunities to cooperate in order to increase advantages in global economic, scientific and technological competition.

"I truly hope relevant authorities from both sides turn these proposals into feasible policies and measures," Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said at Sunday's closing ceremony.

Yu urged both sides to overcome difficulties and seek opportunities to promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties and realize China's rejuvenation through cooperation.

Sun Zhaolin, deputy head of the Department of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs under the Ministry of Commerce, said it's advisable for the mainland and Taiwan to first reach a consensus on cooperation within the free trade zones before discussing details of cooperation.

In the proposals, participants urged both sides to expand financial cooperation by further opening their financial markets, jointly maintain stability in markets and build financial institutions on both sides to enhance exchanges. Participants also called on the two sides to promote cooperation in such sectors as culture, film, publishing, education, agriculture, medicine, as well as tourism and youth exchanges.