Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

No timetable yet on further opening to China: MAC

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) will permit Chinese tourists and cross-strait charter flights on weekends and holidays soon after wrapping up bilateral negotiations, council Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) said yesterday.

Liu made the remarks at a Legislative Yuan seminar sponsored by the legislative caucus of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). KMT lawmakers had suggested that the government permit the opening as soon as possible after the coming Lunar New Year -- which falls on Feb. 18 -- to help bolster Taiwan's economy.

Officials from relevant government agencies, including the MAC, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of the Interior and the central bank were also present at the meeting.

Liu said that bilateral talks on Taiwan's opening to Chinese tourists, cross-strait weekend and holiday charter flights and the exchange of Chinese yuan in Taiwan have made concrete progress and the MAC would allow the opening soon after the two sides conclude negotiations.

Central bank Deputy Governor Hsu I-hsiung (徐義雄) voiced the bank's support for allowing the yuan's conversion into New Taiwan dollars in Taiwan as part of the government's efforts to wipe out black market deals.

Meanwhile, local real-estate and property developers forecast that opening up to Chinese tourists will stimulate not only office building demand, but also the retail and hotel markets.

As Taiwan's property prices still lag far behind those in other developed nations, Chinese tourists with strong purchasing power would likely target the local real-estate market, industry sources said.

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