BEIJING (AFP) -Trade between rivals China and Taiwan jumped 18.2 percent last year to exceed 100 billion dollars for the first time, the Chinese government has said.
Trade between the two sides reached 107.8 billion dollars in 2006, 18.2 percent more than in 2005, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi told a news briefing Wednesday.
“Last year… trade between the two sides of the strait surpassed 100 billion dollars for the first time,” Yang said.
According to Xinhua news agency, the mainland exported 20.7 billion dollars of goods to Taiwan last year and imported 87.1 billion dollars worth from the island territory.
China’s exports to Taiwan last year were up 25.3 percent over 2005, while its imports rose 16.6 percent during the period, it said.
Taiwan residents also made more than 4.4 million visits to mainland China, while over 200,000 Chinese traveled in the opposite direction during the year, Yang said.
China and Taiwan split following the end of a civil war in 1949, with the Communist victors on the mainland still maintaining today that the island must eventually be reunified, by force if necessary.
Despite their political rivalry, mainland China is the biggest market for Taiwan-made goods and draws the majority of Taiwan’s overseas investment.
However Yang also warned that 2007 would be a “crucial” year for opposing Taiwan independence, but did not elaborate.
Trade and other exchanges between mainland China and Taiwan are mostly conducted through third parties, mainly Hong Kong, in the absence of formal links between the rivals.