Two non-governmental committees will be set up as a platform for economic and cultural talks between Hong Kong and Taiwan, officials have agreed. The news was announced during Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung's groundbreaking visit to Taipei. Mr Lam met Mainland Affairs Council vice-chairman Fu Dong-cheng yesterday for a two-hour, closed-door meeting. The pair said afterwards that two panels would be formed as soon as possible to boost exchanges in trade, investment, tourism, culture and other areas. Explaining the communication channel, Mr Lam cited Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, which serve as the top negotiation bodies across the strait. 'They have these two associations that interact and co-operate with one another. Henceforth, Hong Kong and Taiwan will also have this bilateral co-operation committee structure to facilitate the work as our relations progress.' In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-Taiwan Business Co-operation Committee will be set up under the quasi-official Trade Development Council, with representatives from the commercial sector as members. Senior officials including Mr Lam, and possibly one of a higher rank, will form a board of advisers. Its Taiwanese counterpart will be the Economic Co-operation Committee, which is to be set up under the future Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council. Mr Fu said Taiwanese officials would take part in the council's work 'in an appropriate mode and capacity'. 'Hong Kong-Taiwan relations is not the same as cross-strait ties,' he said. 'In both relationships it is impossible to arrive at the destination in one step. Work must be done step by step on a good foundation.' Mr Fu said Taiwan would explore more measures to build a closer relationship with the city when conditions matured. Mr Lam, the first Hong Kong minister to visit Taiwan in an official capacity, said Beijing was supportive of his trip but added that the new platform was a result of discussions between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mr Lam said 'visits can change history', and he expected more principal officials from Hong Kong to visit Taiwan. Asked whether Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would go to the island, Mr Fu said: 'When the time and the conditions are appropriate, I do not rule out any possibility.' At a separate meeting, Mr Lam invited Taipei city officials to attend an Inter-City Forum in Hong Kong next year. Vice-mayor Wu Ching-ji replied that he hoped to go. Yang Hsiao-tung, head of Taipei's Department of Information and Tourism, said fewer Hong Kong filmmakers had made movies in Taiwan in recent years and he hoped they would return. Cheng An-kuo, former chief of Chung Hwa Travel Service - Taiwan's top representative body in Hong Kong - said: 'In 1997 I advocated that Taiwan-Hong Kong relations should be normalised. Mr Lam's visit today is a big step in the normalisation.' Mr Lam will return today after visiting the National Palace Museum.