Negotiations will become a regular exchange Cross-strait talks between the two semi-official organisations representing the mainland and Taiwan will be held every six months, the island's top envoy for handling ties with Beijing revealed yesterday. The high-level negotiations will, therefore, become a regular exchange for the first time. Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), announced the agreement he had reached with his mainland counterpart - Chen Yunlin, chief of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats) - as he met Taiwanese businesspeople in Dongguan to hear about their needs in the current global financial crisis. The mainland and Taiwan resumed talks in June after a nine-year freeze. Their second meeting was held in November. On the second day of his visit to four mainland cities - Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou and Nanjing - to lobby for mainland support, Mr Chiang said the next cross-strait talk would be on the mainland, but a venue had not been selected. There are 6,500 Taiwanese enterprises in Dongguan. About 800 closed last year because of the deteriorating business environment, according to the Taiwan Businessmen's Association Dongguan. Taiwanese businesses operating on the mainland are mainly found in the Pearl and Yangtze river deltas. They have been seeking support from Beijing and local governments - such as tax concessions, higher export tax rebates, relaxed credit from mainland banks and permission for Taiwanese lenders to issue loans on the mainland - to help them weather the financial crisis. But Li Bingcai, deputy secretary-general of Arats, criticised Taiwanese businesses for refusing to invest in research and development, while acknowledging the contribution the businesses had made to the mainland's economy. 'Some Taiwanese businesses - I am not saying all - came to the mainland rather early. They took advantage of the shared language and cultural roots, cheap labour and land costs to make their businesses competitive,' he said. 'For them, the mainland is only where they house their factories, where goods are made for export to other countries. 'But as the mainland advanced on reform, which resulted in changes in the business environment, these businessmen did not upgrade themselves, nor invest in R and D.' Mr Chiang and Mr Chen met behind closed doors for half a day on Wednesday to work out the agenda for their next meeting. On the agenda will be the possibility of normalising the status of daily direct cross-strait charter flights, how to facilitate Taiwanese bank loans to businesses on the mainland, and the issue of whether Taiwanese businesses will be permitted to use their assets in Taiwan as collateral for mainland bank loans. The next meeting will also work out how to facilitate mainland investment in Taiwan, give more protection to Taiwanese enterprises and how to fight cross-strait crime.