The largest ever mainland Chinese buying mission to Taiwan signed contracts valued at $281 million. And as many as nine other similar purchasing visits are on the way, the official Chinese Xinhua news agency reported, in a sign that a political thaw between the rivals is leading to a rapid economic pay-off for Taiwan.
According to Xinhua, while the mission from China’s southern Guangxi province was wrapping up deals in Taiwan (everything from electronics to leather goods and agricultural produce) a high-level delegation from Taiwan signed cooperative agreements on the mainland valued at RMB38.3 billion ($5.6 billion).
The Taiwan delegation, headed by the chairman of the island’s ruling Kuomintang party, Wu Poh-hsiung, signed the agreements with Chongqing municipality in western China. Xinhua said that of the deal’s total value, RMB25.3 billion related to financial services, an area targeted by both sides for expansion to facilitate further trade and investment.
Ties between Taiwan and China have improved rapidly since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (seen declaiming in our picture) took office in May 2008, pledging to set aside longstanding political disputes and enhance exchanges.
Wall Street Journal repors the two sides have agreed to establish the first regular two-way air and shipping traffic in six decades. Last month, they reached agreement in principle to end a ban on investment from China to Taiwan, and to further open financial services.