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First economic forum for mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan kicks off in Beijing

BEIJING, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The First Economic and Financial Forum, aimed at promoting economic and financial ties among the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, kicked off in Beijing on Friday.

In a congratulatory letter to the forum, Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, expressed his hope that participants would hold deep exchanges and offer their ideas and opinions for strengthening economic and financial cooperation among the three regions.

The forum was jointly held by Beijing-based Economic Daily, Hong Kong Economic Times and Taiwan-based Economic Daily News.

At the forum, more than 180 scholars, businesspeople and media figures joined the discussion on opportunities and challenges facing economic and financial cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"We hope that the mainland and Taiwan will improve the economic cooperation mechanism, continue to implement the early harvest program well and reach a cross-Strait investment protection agreement as soon as possible," said Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan at the opening ceremony.

Wang added that the mainland should open up more to Hong Kong's service trade and support companies from both sides in jointly expanding international markets.

From this year, the forum will be jointly held by the three media groups annually and hosted by each of them in turn.

The three media groups will also look into setting up a long-term cooperation mechanism and innovating their information-sharing channels with the forum as a foundation, according to a statement released after the meeting.