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Jun 05. 2009, No. 040

  • Date:2009-06-05

Taiwan and Hong Kong to Establish a Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism

Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Fu Don-Cheng and Hong Kong SAR Government Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau Stephen Lam today (June 5) held a working meeting on issues related to the establishment of a new bilateral cooperation mechanism and exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong, and reached consensus on a number of matters. The Mainland Affairs Council issues the following statement concerning these matters:

For many years, Taiwan and Hong Kong have maintained close and flourishing interactive economic and trade ties. Bilateral trade between Taiwan and Hong Kong amounts to US$34.2 billion in 2008. Each year, on average, Taiwanese make 2.3 million trips to Hong Kong for business or pleasure, while Hong Kong residents make nearly 400,000 trips to Taiwan for the same purposes. Moreover, the intermediary role that Hong Kong previously played in cross-strait contacts has made relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong all the closer.

Over the last several months, the governments of Taiwan and Hong Kong have been conducting close negotiations for the purpose of promoting contacts and strengthening cooperative ties with each other in the economic, trade and other realms. Through these negotiations, the two sides have agreed to promote the establishment of new private-sector organizations, to build a new platform for communication between the two sides, and have reached consensus on the principles for the organizations?establishment and the directions of cooperation to be pursued. Both sides express gratification and hold high expectations for this breakthrough in Taiwan-Hong Kong relations.

Within the near future, Taiwan will set up a Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council (he Taiwan-Hong Kong Council?, and form an Economic Cooperation Committee under the Council; Hong Kong will set up a Hong Kong-Taiwan Commerce and Trade Cooperation Committee (he Hong Kong-Taiwan Committee? under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, to act as a counterpart to the Economic Cooperation Committee under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Council, for conducting exchanges and discussion on bilateral cooperation concerning trade, investment, travel and other matters of concern to both sides.

To bolster the promotion of normal interaction between Taiwan and Hong Kong, high-level government officials of Hong Kong will form an advisory group to support the work of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Committee. High-level government officials of Taiwan will participate in the work of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Council in an appropriate manner and in a suitable capacity. From now on, officials from the two sides will also be able to use this platform for communication and contact regarding issues of concern to both sides.

Taiwan and Hong Kong also expect to carry out exchanges of visits by high-level government officials, and the two sides will arrange such visits at appropriate times in due course. The two sides further agree that officials from their corresponding government agencies will conduct discussions on issues of mutual concern, to establish practical working relations and a collaborative basis for jointly pursuing bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

Taiwan is now actively implementing the establishment of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Council, and will as quickly as possible form the Economic Cooperation Committee, so as to embark on a range of contacts and cooperation with the Hong Kong-Taiwan Committee. The heads and members of the two sides?organizations, as well as plans for future exchanges and cooperation, will be announced as soon as possible in accordance with the progress of work on both sides in putting these arrangements into effect.