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Mainland trade association opens Taiwan office

TAIPEI, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The mainland-based Association of the Economy and Trade across the Taiwan Strait (AETATS) opened an office in Taipei on Tuesday.

The office is the second of its kind to be established on the island by a mainland economic and trade association. The first was set up by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products in January 2013.

The AETATS Taipei branch aims to promote cross-Strait trade and investment by helping its members to establish relations with their Taiwan counterparts and conduct activities ranging from trade and investment to exhibitions, training and forums, according to the office's director Luo Hong.

The association's Taipei office will inject new vigor and expand the capacity to boost cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges, AETATS president Wang Liaoping said at the launch ceremony.

Economic and trade organizations from both the mainland and Taiwan have been busy setting up offices on each side of the Strait. The Taiwan Trade Center, the island's largest trade promotion agency, has opened shop in six mainland cities including Beijing and Shanghai since December 2012.

Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association, which has opened an office in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, plans to open another in Dongguan in Guangdong Province.

The value of Cross-Strait trade last year reached 198.31 billion U.S. dollars, up 0.6 percent year on year.

The mainland ran a trade deficit of 105.77 billion U.S. dollars with Taiwan last year, with exports from the mainland to Taiwan reaching 46.28 billion U.S. dollars while imports from Taiwan were worth more than 152 billion U.S. dollars.

The mainland is Taiwan's largest trading partner, largest export market and biggest import source, according to Cho Shi-chao, chief representative of the Taiwan side to the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC).

Setting up the AETATS Taipei branch is necessary and is also one of the consensuses reached by ECC, Cho said, adding that the branch will help to improve services for cross-Strait companies and enhance benign interaction in cross-Strait economic and trade relations.

The AETATS, which was set up in 2004, is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce with the aim to promote cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges and cooperation.