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• Direct Flights between China and Taiwan May Begin Ahead of Schedule
• China Textile Disputes Continue—But Progress is Made in Both the US and the EU

Direct Flights between China and Taiwan May Begin Ahead of Schedule

11-04: Following an invitation from Mainland officials, on Friday Taiwanese officials announced that Taiwan was ready to talk to China about allowing direct charter flights ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season in early 2006. The Taiwanese officials, from the Mainland Affairs Council, noted, however, that they would prefer also to discuss the opening of direct cargo and passenger charters on a regular basis. Currently, China's chief tourism official was in Taiwan for a 10-day visit. The visit has fueled hopes that the floodgates could open for Chinese tourists travel to Taiwan.

No direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland have been allowed since 1949, when the Communists won the civil war against the Nationalists, and the Nationalists fled to Taiwan. Direct air links mark the most recent advance in a series of developments in cross-straight relations, from senior-level Taiwanese officials visiting the mainland to Beijing's announcement of giving Taiwan two pandas.

China Textile Disputes Continue—But Progress is Made in Both the US and the EU

11-04: After five rounds of talks, the US and China finally announced that progress has been made in finalizing a textile agreement. The US threw up tariffs after a huge surge in Chinese textile exports in January. On Tuesday they announced that a short term deal has been agreed too. The recent progress has created hopes in the textile industry that a final deal is soon to be brokered.

The European Union, which had brokered a deal with China in June, also announced progress in its new round of trade talks with China. The EU had to revamp the June textile agreement when European apparel manufacturers were unable to receive shipments and huge amounts of Chinese textiles stockpiled in customs warehouses because they exceeded the negotiated quotas. Thus, the EU and China went back to the drawing board and announced this week that progress had been made.

This week European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson met with Bo Xilai, the Chinese Trade Commissioner to seek increased market access for European carmakers, better enforcement of intellectual property rights, and avoid a costly, new battle over low-cost clothing exports. Both China and the EU agreed that increased trade would continue to benefit both sides.

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