China has agreed to open its markets to seven more kinds of Taiwan fruits, an agricultural delegation said yesterday upon its return from the mainland.
Legislative candidate Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), who led a score of representatives from farmers' associations last Sunday to China, said the delegation met with Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu (回良玉), Director of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), and Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin (杜青林) during the weeklong visit.
Hsu, a former chairman of the now-ruling Democratic Progressive Party, noted that the World Trade Organization will expand agricultural product trade in 2006 and that up to 134 agricultural products might come into Taiwan by then.
The visit aims to find outlets for Taiwan farmers and ease cross-strait tensions to avoid unnecessary confrontations, Hsu said.
Ku Yuan-chun (古源俊), president of Taiwan Province Farmers' Association, said that Hui and other mainland officials have agreed to allow seven more kinds of fruits -- guavas, dates, oranges, papayas, lychees, bananas, and pineapples -- from Taiwan China in addition to the original five kinds -- pomelos, betel nuts, mangoes, starfruits, and wax apples -- starting Dec. 1.
Beijing also agreed that it will not dump rice, vegetables and fruits in Taiwan after the expansion of agricultural trade under the WTO framework in 2006, and that Taiwan will import corn, soybean and wheat it does not produce from Chinese to cut production costs, Ku added.
Both sides also agreed to set up counterpart offices, with Taiwan's farmers' associations dealing with the agriculture product transactions, which will provide 62 percent of the profits back to farmers.
Hsieh Yung-huei (謝永輝), president of Yunlin County Farmers's Association, said that the delegation has repeatedly asked for tariff-free treatment and simplified quarantine procedures for imported Taiwan agricultural products, and Beijing has agreed to do as much as it could.