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Taiwan OKs mainland banks' offices
Date:2010/9/25      View:970
Taiwan's banking regulators Thursday approved the applications of two major mainland banks - Bank of China and Bank of Communications - to establish representative offices on the island.

Liu Rong, spokesperson for Bank of China, confirmed the approval Thursday in an interview with Xinhua, saying that Bank of China will start registration of the office in no delay and work to open the office as soon as possible.

The two banks' representative offices in Taiwan will not conduct banking operations and will only engage in non-profit-seeking activities like making contacts with local bankers, and collecting financial information about the island, the island's banking regulators said.

Taiwan will supervise and regulate the two offices in accordance with the financial laws and regulations regarding financial exchange across the Taiwan Strait.

Under the trade and economic pact the two sides signed in June, mainland banks can apply to set up branches in Taiwan one year after the establishment of representative offices there.

The two mainland banks submitted the applications to set up the representative offices on September 7.

China Merchants Bank, another mainland bank, also submitted an application to set-up of a regional office in Taiwan. But the application was rejected for failing to meet certain requirements, according to news reports in Taiwan.

It has been several years since the first representative offices of Taiwanese banks were set up on the mainland.

Last Thursday, the mainland's banking regulatory commission gave permission for the first time for four Taiwanese banks to begin preparatory work for branches on the mainland.

The setting-up of the mainland banks' representative offices in Taiwan is widely seen as a breakthrough in cross-Strait financial cooperation, which is in its infancy compared to cross-Strait trade and investment ties.

The cross-Strait trade totaled 802.2 billion U.S. dollars between 2000 and 2009, with Taiwan enjoying a surplus of 510.6 billion U.S. dollars, or 63.6 percent of the total volume.

The mainland is Taiwan's largest investment destination.

The mainland and Taiwan signed the historic Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in June with the aim of boosting cross-Strait economic and trade ties.

Under the agreement, the mainland will reduce tariffs on 539 Taiwanese products worth 13.83 billion U.S. dollars while the island will reduce tariffs on 267 mainland products worth 2.86 billion U.S. dollars.

The agreement came into effect on September 12 after the two sides completed relevant procedures.
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