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Tue, Jan 23, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Cross-strait trade nothing new

ECONOMIC TIES Trade and travel between Taiwan and China has flourished for years, but Chinese business owners are now urging implementation of direct links

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER IN FUJIAN PROVINCE

Chen Yiming (陳意明), a Xiamen businessman who imports food and goods from Taiwan, said if direct transportation were to be made possible, exports from Taiwan would increase and become cheaper and, therefore, more competitive.

"If direct transportation is made between Kaohsiung and Xiamen, we will make 10 percent more profit ... And it also saves a lot of traveling time," Chen said.

He warned that "Taiwan surpassed China economically 20 years ago, but China will speed up and overtake Taiwan in 20 years," urging Taiwan officials to take advantage of the market in China.

Pressure from the business sector appears to be making the opening of the big-three-links inevitable. Political obstacles, however, have made the issue a thorny one since China insists on the "one China" principle that the DPP government in Taiwan shows no signs of accepting.

"We can actually take advantage of one common principle that both sides have agreed upon. That is, economic development comes before the settlement of political differences," Chen Kuo-shiun said, adding that he hoped the big three links policy would be implemented within in three months.

He added that the leaders of both sides should put the controversy over unification or independence aside, resume dialogue and allow as much cross-strait exchange as possible in order to enhance mutual understanding and trust before an agreement could be reached.

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