Mon, Dec 29, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait postal remittances to start in February

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two-way postal remittance services between Taiwan and China will begin in the middle of February following the Lunar New Year holiday, with Citibank New York serving as the intermediary bank, Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政) officials said yesterday.

A spokesman for Chunghwa Post said that one of four agreements signed on Nov. 4 in Taipei between the Straits Exchange Foundation and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, allows Taiwan and China to begin direct mail and postal remittance services.

The direct cross-Taiwan Strait mail service began on Dec. 15 while the direct postal remittance service was initially scheduled to begin immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Given that the estimated volume of direct remittances in the initial stage would not be large, Chunghwa Post ruled that it would be most cost-effective to rely on Citibank, the spokesman said. Taiwan’s post offices have provided services for outward remittances bound for China through Citibank New York since 1991, but have not accepted inward remittances from China.

Starting in the middle of February, the postal remittance service between the two sides will work in both directions, with Citibank New York continuing to be the intermediary.

The spokesman said the Postal Savings Bank of China would join the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China among Chinese banks where remittances can be paid.

All remittances will be made in US dollars, with maximum transfers of US$30,000.

The service charge in Taiwan will be NT$500 for each wire transfer and NT$400 for each mail transfer.

Data compiled by Chunghwa Post shows that between 1991 and last year, the average annual remittances from Taiwan to China amounted to NT$1.46 billion (US$44.36 million).

In related news, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday urged government agencies to enhance communication with each other and improve coordination when planning cross-strait policies.

“The premier believes that all government agencies should continue to evaluate outdated cross-strait regulations and propose their own professional evaluation,” Cabinet Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said after a closed-door conference on cross-strait policy planning for high-ranking Cabinet officials.

Liu urged all government agencies to enhance promotion of cross-strait policies “to prevent good policies from being misunderstood [by the public],” she said.

Liu also called on government officials to remain disciplined when planning cross-strait policies, Shih said, adding that officials should not publicize anything that the government had not finalized.

Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) rebutted speculation that Liu’s remarks were a sign of his dissatisfaction with the council’s performance, saying that the council had held monthly meetings between its members and that “there is always room for improvement.”

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