The 2023 annual conference of the summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Straits is held in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, November 14, 2023. /CFP
Editor's note: Farhad Chowdhury, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a security and strategic affairs researcher and columnist. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.
From November 14 to 15, the 2023 annual conference of the summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Straits was held in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province. The conference drew in around 800 participants, including businesspeople, professionals, and academics from both sides of the Straits. Under the theme of "integrated development and high-quality development under the new pattern," discussions at the event concentrated on the coordinated growth of the supply and manufacturing chains on both sides of the Straits.
To this year's cross-Straits CEO summit, which celebrates its 10th anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter, calling on businesspeople to protect greater China's interests, stressing the summit's importance in promoting economic cooperation and integrating growth across the Straits.
The summit, founded in 2013, provides a significant forum for advancing cross-Straits economic exchanges and the harmonious development of cross-Straits relations. It is important for this kind of meeting to bring companies and individuals from both sides together. The conference, which is the most significant platform for people-to-people connectivity, especially businessperson-to-businessperson link, has been advancing business and industrial ties between the two sides and promoting industrial cooperation. The summit was imperative to strengthen the economic and trade ties between the Chinese people both on the mainland and in the Taiwan region.
Amid the continuous contrived geopolitical crisis generated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and outside parties, particularly the U.S., the forum offers a chance for people on both sides of the Straits to join together. The event has been well-received by Taiwan's business organizations and individuals, proving without a doubt that the restoration of cross-Straits exchanges is a shared goal.
People visit an art exchange exhibition held concurrently with the 2023 annual conference of the summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Straits in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, November 14, 2023. /CFP
People on both sides have benefited materially from increasing commerce and interactions during the last few years between the Taiwan region and the Chinese mainland. For the last 22 years, Taiwan's major export market has been the Chinese mainland, which has resulted in a sizable yearly surplus for the island. From $46 million in 1978 to $319.68 billion in 2022, cross-Straits trade volume increased significantly. 22.6 percent of Taiwan's total foreign trade in 2022 came from trade with the Chinese mainland. 25.3 percent of Taiwan's total exports went to the Chinese mainland. With 33.6 percent of Taiwan's off-island investment going to the Chinese mainland in 2022, the mainland has emerged as the most popular destination for off-island investment. Jiangsu, Fujian, and Guangdong Provinces received the majority of Taiwan's investments on the Chinese mainland.
In matters of commerce and economics across the Taiwan Straits, the Chinese mainland has consistently been interested, realistic and truthful to strengthen the trade relations with the island. The mainland always wants to remove barriers while the DPP tries to destabilize the positive growth of the ties and potentials. Unable to consider its duty for sustainable cross-Straits relations logically, the DPP intends to deepen contradictions and focus on geopolitical rivalry influenced by the outsider third party.
In addition to failing to take meaningful action to remove the unfair trade restrictions on the mainland, the DPP has actually made them worse. Businesses on both sides should comprehend that Taiwan's deputy leader Lai Ching-te's lean towards the U.S. is just a narrow geopolitical provocation by the ardent proponents of "Taiwan independence."The "Taiwan independence" illusion is basically to destabilize not only the Chinese mainland but also the Taiwan region.
Nonetheless, despite the DPP's resistance, Taiwan's reliance on the mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has resulted in a trade surplus of more than $110 billion in 2022, drawing Taiwan businesses to increase their production capacity. Indeed, there is a great deal of untapped economic potential between the mainland and Taiwan.
Businesses on all sides must band together to overcome any geopolitical provocations. The island's business community should uphold the 1992 Consensus and the one-China principle while vehemently opposing outside meddling and separatist movements.
More constructive interactions would encourage the prompt restoration of regular communication and mutual assistance between the two sides. The spirit of the island and mainland's union will pick up speed as people interact with one another and with businesses.
Businesses on both sides may work together to further the growth of cross-Straits ties and the peaceful reunification of the country. The cross-Straits communications in fields like agriculture, education, art, climate change, science and technology, disaster management and business will pave the way for cross-Straits integrated development.
Taiwan has to perform better in bolstering the ties and removing barriers, adopt a more responsible and reasonable mindset to lessen tensions across the Straits, and create a more positive, long-lasting, and mutually beneficial political and economic partnership with the Chinese mainland. Taiwan's business associations and people must advocate for enhanced inter-Straits economic and commercial interactions as well as improved communication in order to take advantage of the many growth prospects available on the mainland.
The forum has been instrumental in fostering people-to-people connections across the Taiwan Straits thanks to its targeted business themes and activities and the strong participation of a variety of business sectors. It will continue to support the development of ties, grassroots communication, and connectivity of the economy between the Chinese mainland and the Taiwan region.
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