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Mainland's trade with Taiwan, HK see recoveries, but still down year-on-year

  BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland's trade with Taiwan and Hong Kong saw recoveries last month after year-on-year plunges in January, but continued to decline over last year, the latest statistics of the Ministry of Commerce showed.

  Data from the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Department of China's Ministry of Commerce showed that the mainland had a total trade of 5.65 billion U.S. dollars with Taiwan and 10.3 billion U.S. dollars with Hong Kong in February, up by 12.3 percent and 3.1 percent respectively from January, but down by 39.4 percent and 17.5 percent year-on-year.

  The mainland's total trade with Taiwan and Hong Kong in January plunged 55.5 percent and 37 percent year-on-year respectively.

  A researcher surnamed Song on world economics in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, told Xinhua Saturday that trade volumes between the mainland and Taiwan and Hong Kong will most likely fall further in the near future due to the financial crisis, and it is hard to say if the pace will continue to slow.

  "The general trend of China's trade with other economies is still going downward," Song said. "Full recoveries from the ongoing world financial crisis would take quite some time."

  "China's trade in the first two months is normally influenced by the Lunar New Year," Song said, noting that it is difficult to predict the future based solely on figures of January and February. The Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 26 this year.

  Trade across the Taiwan Straits is mostly the mainland's imports of semi-manufactured or manufactured products from Taiwan to use in its exports to developed markets such as North America and Europe. Hong Kong mainly serves as a transit center in the mainland's exports to developed countries.