Participants and media taking photos at the annual meeting of the 2023 Cross-Straits CEO Summit, in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, November 14, 2023. /CFP
The Cross-Straits CEO Summit, celebrating its 10th anniversary, concluded on Wednesday in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, spotlighting a decade of significant economic partnership between the Chinese mainland and China's Taiwan region.
Participants at the summit emphasized the crucial role of industrial integration in ensuring peace across the Straits.
Taiwan's economic vibrancy relies on cross-Straits cooperation
Over the last 10 years, cross-Straits trade has seen impressive growth, nearly doubling to $319.6 billion in 2022, from $168.9 billion in 2012, according to reported official data.
This growth, as Lai Cheng-i, chairman of the Taiwan General Chamber of Commerce observed, is largely attributable to policies favoring Taiwan businesses on the mainland, fostering a synergistic relationship.
The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), signed in June 2010, has been a key driver to this progress, Lai said.
Up to June this year, the ECFA yielded $8.8 billion in tariff reductions for Taiwan, said Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, earlier in October.
Beyond boosting trade, ECFA has enhanced the visibility and global competitiveness of Taiwan products in the mainland market, according to Zhu.
However, Kao Koong-lian, president of the cross-Straits economic and trade and cultural exchange association, cautioned against the potential economic impact of the termination of ECFA at the summit.
Scholars estimate that Taiwan's economic growth rate could decrease by 0.4 percent if ECFA was terminated, said Gao, saying that this potential downturn might lead to challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises, disrupt the industrial balance and increase socioeconomic inequalities in Taiwan.
"The peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is fundamentally tied to Taiwan's economic well-being," he said.
Taiwan entrepreneurs as ambassadors of cross-Straits integration
Taiwan enterprises have solidified their key role in fostering economic integration between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, evidenced by a consistent rise in investments on the mainland.
From January to August this year, Taiwan investments in the mainland have seen a substantial uptick, with a 23.4-percent increase in new investment projects and a 54.8-percent rise in actual Taiwan capital used compared to the same period last year.
Lin Tien-liang, chief representative of the Beijing office of Want Want Group, a prominent Taiwan food manufacturer, highlighted the enduring attractiveness of the Chinese mainland for Taiwan investors, citing deep cultural ties and a vast market due to the mainland's population being 60 times Taiwan's size.
"Chinese mainland is positioned as the optimal choice for Taiwan businesses," Lin told CGTN.
Echoing this sentiment, Zhang Yuwei, general manager of Nanjing Nantai Precision Machinery Co., a Taiwan-funded company, announced plans for significant investment expansion in the mainland over the next three to five years.
Zhang told CGTN that the responsibility of Taiwan businesses is to contribute to the national economy and maintain peaceful development and integration across the Taiwan Straits.
Fostering future cross-Straits economic synergy
Since its establishment in 2013, the Cross-Straits CEO Summit has been a platform for promoting industrial cooperation and mutual economic benefits, resilient amid fluctuating political and military environment, said Liu Chao-shiuan, co-president of the Cross-Strait CEO Summit at the summit summary.
He said he envisioned expanding the cooperation model, currently successful in the new energy vehicle supply chain, to sectors like intelligent equipment manufacturing, energy conservation and the industrial internet.
Liu suggested creating a lasting framework involving key industry associations and business entities from both sides of the Straits to enhance supply chain collaboration and ensure ongoing, effective industry communication and coordination.
Meanwhile, Miao Fengqiang, chairman of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, emphasized the importance of industrial integration for maintaining peace across the Straits.
Miao advocated for a collaborative approach to navigate the next decade, addressing global geopolitical and economic uncertainties and promoting high-quality cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation.