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Week of January 31, 2003

Week of January 31, 2003

The U.S. and China This Week


CROSS-STRAITS: Taiwan and China establish closer links

January 26, 2003 marked the first time in over 50 years that a plane from Taiwan landed in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The chartered 747-400 of the Taiwan-based China Airlines fleet made the journey as part of an agreement to allow indirect flights between the mainland and Taiwan for the Lunar New Year holiday. Although this agreement did not allow direct flights, as all planes are required to pass through either Hong Kong or Macau, it was seen as a positive step towards the resumption of negotiations for the establishment of direct links between Taiwan and the PRC. Following the flight, Taiwan announced that it was prepared to continue negotiations with Beijing to discuss the possibility direct links with the mainland. The "three links" of trade, transport and postal services between Taiwan and the mainland has long been seen as essential to the progress of cross-straits relations.

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DOMESTIC: Lunar New Year spending exemplifies China's growing largesse

In the days leading up to the Year of the Goat, domestic consumption has been increasing by leaps and bounds. With many Chinese returning home bearing gifts for families and friends, supermarkets and shopping malls have seen tremendous increases in patronage, with some remaining open through the holiday to take advantage of the increased consumption. This has been particularly true for the restaurant sector, which has seen a surge in bookings for banquets during the New Year. In addition, China's transportation sector is cashing in on the holiday. Even with increased fares, some estimate that rail passengers alone will exceed three million a day. In total, it is estimated that over 1.8 billion trips will be made over the holiday.


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The U.S. and China This Week
The U.S. and China This Week

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