Trade volume between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan reached US$95.55 billion in the first seven months of 2016, down 9.8 per cent year on year, according to the latest figures from the mainland’s Ministry of Commerce.
Mainland exports to Taiwan totaled US$22.57 billion from January to July, a 12.7 per cent year-on-year drop, while the island’s exports to the mainland grossed US$72.98 billion, a decrease of 8.8 per cent from the same period a year earlier.
Taiwan is currently the seventh-largest trading partner of the Chinese mainland.
A total of 2,051 projects funded wholly or partly with funds from Taiwan were approved on the mainland during the seven months, up 32.2 per cent.
By the end of July, the Chinese mainland had 97,349 Taiwan-backed projects, and the mainland’s actual use of Taiwanese capital stood at US$64.04 billion, or 3.7 per cent of the total overseas capital.
Concerns over the development of business ties between the mainland and Taiwan were triggered after Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party became Taiwan’s president in May.
Tsai refused to acknowledge the “1992 consensus” – a tacit understanding on the cross-strait relationship reached in a 1992 meeting of representatives from both sides.
Taiwan tourism industry representatives took to the streets of Taipei earlier this month to press the government to tackle the decline in the number of mainland Chinese visitors.
The demonstration was the first to be organised by the island’s tourism industry since a ban on mainland Chinese visitors to Taiwan was partially lifted in 2008, after then president Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang was first elected on a platform of seeking friendlier ties with Beijing.
The number of mainland visitors to Taiwan for both tourism and business then quadrupled, from 1 million in 2008 to 4 million last year, amid improved bilateral ties. However, relations with Beijing have stalled since Tsai took office in May.
Statistics show the number of mainland tourists dropped by 15 per cent in July from the same period a year earlier.
Taipei also expressed dismay that Beijing has blocked it from participating in international agencies. On Friday, Taiwan said it had not been invited to the assembly meeting of a United Nations aviation agency.
But Beijing said the upholding of the “One China” principle is a prerequisite for Taiwan to participate in international bodies.