Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Yuan-NT dollar exchange begins on Kinmen, Matsu

CNA , TAIPEI

New Taiwan dollar-Chinese yuan exchange services officially opened yesterday on a trial basis on Kinmen and Matsu, with travelers using the "small three links" swarming to buy the Chinese currency at Kinmen's Shueitou Port (水頭碼頭).

Six financial institutions in Kinmen and Matsu have been granted permission by the government to offer the currency exchange service.

They include the branch offices of two government-run banks -- the Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and the Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) -- and the Kinmen County Credit Cooperative (金門縣信用合作社).

In the first hour after the service began, more than 110,000 yuan (US$13,590) was purchased at an exchange rate of NT$4.199 to one yuan, according to bank officials on the islands.

A Taiwanese businessman operating in China said that he is happy to see the opening of the official currency exchange service because before he had to risk losses when buying the Chinese currency on the black market.

Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李炷烽) said the move was a good one and suggested that everyone be entitled to use the NT dollar-yuan conversion service.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) announced last month that the NT dollar-yuan conversion program would begin, underscoring that it would only be opened in Kinmen and Matsu conditionally.

Only residents of Kinmen and Matsu; Taiwanese residents who can travel between the islands and China's Fujian Province under the "small three links" regulations; and Chinese citizens who are allowed to visit Kinmen and Matsu will be allowed to convert NT dollars into the Chinese currency or vice versa.

The premier said a ceiling of 20,000 yuan per transaction would also be set.

In a bid to help facilitate private exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, the Ministry of Finance announced Feb. 28, last year that Taiwanese or foreign visitors entering Taiwan can bring a maximum of 6,000 yuan into the country per person.

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