Taiwan’s improved relationship with Beijing could help insulate it from a global economic slowdown, the island’s top negotiator with the mainland said. Chiang Pin-kung, head of the Straits Exchange Foundation, said Chinese tourism would boost domestic consumption and GDP growth in Taiwan, AP reported. He added that a new round of negotiations are planned to increase the number of weekly flights, currently 36, to meet rising demand. Chiang also believes better ties will allow Taiwan firms to operate more freely in the Chinese market. Taiwan’s exports to China and Hong Kong rose 21.7% to US$54.9 billion in the first half of the year. Preisdent Ma Ying-jeou has promised to raise the ceiling on mainland investment by Taiwan firms, encourage more high-tech investments and to allow mainland Chinese to invest in Taiwan infrastructure projects.