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Chinese premier: Mainland to expand business ties and trade with Taiwan

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland will expand the range and scope of business ties and trade with Taiwan, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

    "We will continue to increase exchanges in economic and trade fields with Taiwan, particularly we want to resume the three direct links between the two sides as quickly as possible," said Wen at a press conference right after China's parliament ended its first annual full session.

    He said the mainland will continue the expand the scope of economic exchanges with Taiwan in such fields as investment, trade, tourism and banking for win-win and mutually beneficial cooperation.

    "To serve the interest of people in Taiwan, we are even ready to make necessary sacrifices," Wen said, adding that Taiwan has been running a huge trade surplus with the mainland for many years.

    Last year alone, trade between the mainland and Taiwan stood at 120 billion U.S. dollars, with Taiwan having a surplus of 70 million U.S. dollars.

    In contrast, more than 2,000 products from the mainland are still denied access to Taiwan's market while the mainland has continued to give market access to products from Taiwan, including agricultural products, said the premier.

Taiwan also imposed restrictions on investment from mainland while more than 70,000 Taiwan enterprises had entered the mainland market, bringing a total investment of 48 billion U.S. dollars.

    If the investment through the third party was included, the figure was over 70 billion U.S. dollars, Wen said.

    "On all these issues, we can conduct consultations on the basis of equality and mutual benefits. By doing so, we are actually tapping full potentials of our complementarity on each side," he said.

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