Beijing opens door to hiring Taiwanese

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 12:00am

But Taipei tells mainland it would rather talk about cargo charters, farm trade and holiday visits by tourists

The mainland yesterday said it would open its job market to new graduates from Taiwan, but Taipei skirted the offer - saying it would rather focus on cargo charters, farm trade and holiday visits by mainlanders.

Mainland officials said a 10-year-old regulation had been amended to allow fresh graduates from Taiwan to look for jobs, transferring approval power from provincial to municipal authorities.

The new regulation, which will come into effect in October, also applies to jobseekers from Hong Kong and Macau.

But officials who explained the regulation yesterday made it clear they amended the regulation with Taiwanese in mind.

Mainland employers would no longer need to prove they were unable to find suitable candidates on the mainland when they hired Taiwanese graduates, said Liu Danhua , a vice-director with the Department of Training and Employment in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

'This will greatly expand the room for Taiwanese people to find work on the mainland,' she said.

The Entry and Exit Inspection Bureau would further simplify entry and exit procedures for Taiwanese who lived on the mainland and allow more local bureaus to handle visa applications from Taiwanese, said Li Changyou , a vice-director with the bureau, under the Ministry of Public Security.

The rules would allow Taiwanese to use multiple-entry visas. They also allow Taiwanese temporary residence permits to be extended to as long as five years.

But in Taipei, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) urged the mainland to respect the island's desire to talk about the cargo charters, farm trade and holiday visits by mainlanders.

President Chen Shui-bian criticised Beijing and the opposition for overstating the importance of fruit exports to the mainland - Beijing recently agreed to allow tariff-free imports of 15 kinds of Taiwanese fruit.

The MAC asked the mainland not to ignore Taipei's proposal for talks on cargo charters. It said the semi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council was the best group to talk with the mainland about the fruit trade.

The MAC statement did not address Beijing's plan to ease hiring restrictions on Taiwanese and extend the periods of their travel documents.

At a fruit promotion event in Taipei, Mr Chen brushed off suggestions by the mainland and opposition pan-blue politicians that the fruit trade with the mainland had great value for Taiwanese farmers. He said the mainland offer of zero tariffs on Taiwanese fruit was just 'political language', as exports there amounted to just 0.6 per cent of Taiwan's total farm exports last year.

But he used the fruit promotion event to justify the government's insistence on talks with the mainland on cargo charter flights. He said the flights would ensure freshness of the fruit if produce could be sent by direct cargo flights.

Speaking in Beijing earlier, Li Weiyi , a Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman, said the mainland was willing to deal with any private groups and organisations in Taiwan that would bring 'real benefits to Taiwanese fruit farmers'.