[photopress:air_evaair.jpg,full,alignright]Taiwan and the mainland signed an agreement begin direct weekend passenger flights and tour-group visits, after completing their first official talks since 1999.
The island’s vice minister of transportation Yu Fang-lai said flights across the Strait of Taiwan will begin on July 4. And Taiwan will welcome an average of 3,000 Chinese tourists a day starting July 18.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said today in a meeting with Taiwan’s negotiator Chiang Pin-kun saiid the talks ‘show the improvement of cross-Strait relations has got off to a good start.’
The election in March of President Ma Ying-jeou, who defeated the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party on a pledge to improve ties with the mainland, provided the catalyst for the new co-operation.
China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest carrier, climbed as much as 3.7% in Taipei trading. EVA Airways, the second-largest, added as much as 4.4%.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Enoch Fung said direct flights and cross-strait tourism may add about 60 to 80 basis points to Taiwan’s economic growth, said today after the deal was signed.
He said, ‘The implementation of these policies would support a recovery in sentiment and domestic demand, and should help Taiwan offset the negative external shock from slower U.S. demand and higher energy prices.’