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Chinese mainland delegation on shopping spree in Taiwan

  TAIPEI, May 28 (Xinhua) -- A trade and culture delegation from the Chinese mainland's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to Taiwan has made tangible progress in trade and cultural exchanges in the island, the region's government said Thursday.

  As of Wednesday, Guangxi and Taiwan had signed 281 million U.S. dollars worth of contracts, under which the autonomous region will buy more than 200 million U.S. dollars worth of products from Taiwan, according to Liu Shusen, director of Guangxi's commerce department.

  The purchases include electronics items, leather goods and agricultural produce such as 166 tonnes of fruit and 300 tonnes of tea.

  The Guangxi delegation, consisting of more than 1,500 officials and enterprises, arrived in Taipei on May 21.

  Headed by Ma Biao, chairman of the Guangxi regional government, it was the largest buying group from the mainland.

  The visit will further boost bilateral exchanges and cooperation amid the global economic downturn, said Ma.

  The Guangxi delegation will be soon followed by several other mainland purchasing groups from May to September.

  "The preparations are underway and we plan to convene seven to nine purchasing groups in next five months," said Yang Yi, spokesman of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference Wednesday.

  The Communist Party of China Central Committee general secretary Hu Jintao said during a meeting with Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in Beijing Tuesday that jointly tackling the impact of the global downturn was the top priority of both sides.

  According to the mainland's agenda, a group organized by the Mainland Association for Cross-Strait Economic and Trade Exchanges and organizations of the textile, home appliance and mineral industries would visit Taiwan on May 31.

  China Video Industry Association would organize a visit of leading mainland Television producers on June 1 to hammer out a planned 2.2 billion U.S. dollars worth contract of TV parts produced by Taiwan suppliers.

  Also in June, tea merchants and fruit organizations would visit central and south Taiwan. In September, representatives of trading cooperatives from 11 provinces and cities, six industry associations and 13 agricultural products producers will visit the island.