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China offers Taiwan companies $95b in credit

Validity of mainland residential permits for Taiwanese to be extended

Gulf News

Beijing: China pledged Sunday to offer up to 600 billion yuan (Dh346 billion) in credit to Taiwanese companies on the mainland as it furthered its campaign for reunification.

China will also increase access to mainland universities for Taiwanese teachers and students and allow direct cross-strait flights to three more mainland airports, Wang Yi, head of the cabinet-level Taiwan Affairs Office said.

“In order to help Taiwanese enterprises develop, mainland banks... will offer a 600 billion yuan credit ceiling over the next three to four years,” Wang said in a speech at a forum in southeast China’s Xiamen city.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank will be authorised to make the loans, he said.

Wang was speaking at the Straits Forum an annual meeting aimed at bolstering ties between China and Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rebel province awaiting reunification.

The new moves were aimed at boosting trade and tourism between the two sides, Wang said.

China will also extend the validity of mainland residential permits for Taiwanese from one year to two years, he said in the speech that was posted on his office’s website.

Equal status

In addition Taiwanese professors will be given equal status to apply for work in mainland universities after receiving “educational permits”, he said, while Taiwanese students graduating from Chinese universities will be allowed to seek public sector jobs in China.

Trade between China and Taiwan has boomed over the past two decades, increasing by 10 per cent last year to $160 billion, according to China’s trade ministry.

Ties improved markedly after Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party took power in 2008 on a platform of promoting trade and reconciliation with the mainland.

Taiwan has been a major investor in China in recent years, providing more than $100 billion in finance, according to some estimates, as well as offering crucial technological know-how.

More than 550 flights between China and Taiwan take place a week to around 30 mainland airports, as tourism has boomed since direct air links were authorised in 2009.

Taiwan and China are still technically at war and Beijing has refused to renounce the use of force against the island despite the fact it has governed itself for more than six decades.