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Last Updated:[30-08-2010 08:23:34 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Taiwan to Ease Visa Process to Promote Business with Hong Kong



tradenews In a bid to boost trade ties with Hong Kong, Taiwan plans to simplify procedures for visa issuance for Hong Kong citizens in the near future, the Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan said on Monday. Lai expressed this at a meeting with the visiting highest ranking official from Hong Kong, John Tsang - Financial Secretary and honorary member of Hong Kong council.

During a meeting in Taipei to promote economic and cultural co-operation between Taiwan and Hong Kong Lai told civilian exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong had largely contributed to lay firm foundation for economic co-operation between the two sides. While Tsang who was on a four-day visit to Taiwan for the first bilateral talks said there should be more such high level exchanges to strengthen the ties.

Both countries are understood to have agreed to co-operate further in the areas of air transport, double taxation avoidance, tourism, health, culture and education. The meeting between the top officials from both sides is regarded as a major step forward in thawing of China-Taiwan relations. The meeting was part of the deal which Taiwan signed with mainland China in June.

Hong Kong is Taiwan's fourth-largest trade partner, and two-way trade and the number of travelers between the two sides are expected to reach $38.8bn and 3mn respectively. The number of China-based Taiwanese businesses listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has reached 60, and some leading Taiwanese companies now consider Hong Kong as the main place for raising business capital.

Lai pointed out that to lay emphasis on promoting civilian exchanges between the two sides, the government last year relaxed employment restrictions on Hong Kong students, allowing them to enroll in graduate programs after graduating from local universities, and also began extending the duration of stay on visas for Hong Kong-based Chinese citizens visiting Taiwan. However, she admitted there were still some areas which require special attention to extract full result out of the trade ties with Hong Kong.

Lai was of the opinion that an announcement would be made soon on simplification of visa procedures for Hong Kong visitors. Besides Tsang, the meeting was also attended by Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council (ECCC) Chairman Lin Chen-kuo and its Hong Kong counterpart, the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council (ECCPC) Lee Y.

By Jose Roy




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