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Historic investment headway

TAIWAN authorities opened up the island to Chinese mainland investment yesterday with 100 categories of manufacturing, service and infrastructure sectors in the initial list.

The move marks a historic breakthrough of decades-long hopes for two-way investments across the Taiwan Strait. Under two new regulations which took effect yesterday, mainland individuals, companies and institutions can set up branch offices, wholly-owned or joint-venture companies on the island.

They have to get approval from the Taiwan economic affairs agency in advance, according to the regulations. Investment from firms based outside the Chinese mainland, in which mainland ownership is more than 30 percent, will also be regarded as mainland investment in Taiwan, the regulations said.

In the initial phase, the Taiwan authorities allow mainland investment in 64 categories in the manufacturing sector, 25 categories in the service sector, and 11 categories in the infrastructure sector on the island.

Mainland investment would "help Taiwan's economy prosper" and make international investors more confident in the Taiwan market, said John Chen Chung-deng, deputy head of Taiwan's economic affairs agency, at a press conference yesterday.

The investment would help increase industry capital in Taiwan and make its financial market more vigorous, he said. Through two-way cross-strait investments, the two sides could jointly explore mainland and international markets, he said. The formalization of cross-strait investment is a long-term objective, he said. The opening-up will advance in a "gradual" way and "will be expanded as long as the initial investment bears fruits."

The Taiwan authorities planned to send a team to the mainland to attract investment in the second half of this year, Chen said. Taiwan welcomes mainland companies to explore investment opportunities on the island, he added.

Zhang Yansheng, director of the Institute of Foreign Trade under the National Development and Reform Commission, said the influx of mainland capital would greatly boost Taiwan's gross production value, tax income and employment.


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