Taiwan renames representative offices in Hong Kong, Macau
Taiwan’s representative offices in Hong Kong and Macau will be renamed in line with their actual status and duties, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan said July 4.
The representative office in Hong Kong, long known as Chung Hwa Travel Service, will officially become the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong July 15, while the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Macau was renamed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Macau July 4, Lai said.
“The status and functions of the offices will be upgraded and our officials will enjoy preferential treatment,” Lai stressed, adding that Taiwan’s offices will now be able to contact Hong Kong and Macau government agencies directly.
“The Hong Kong and Macau governments will also establish offices in Taiwan,” Lai added.
The functions of the Taiwan offices include promoting exchanges in culture, education, food safety, public health, trade and tourism with the two special administrative regions, Lai explained. “The preferential treatment to be enjoyed by Taiwan’s representatives are exemptions for salary taxes and visa service charges, and reasonable residence periods,” Lai said.
The Macau government also approved the office’s involvement in the improvement of judicial cooperation and crime fighting, the minister added.
“This is a milestone in the development of Taiwan’s positive relations with Hong Kong and Macau,” Lai pointed out, noting that Taiwan and Hong Kong had been in talks to rename the office for the past 45 years. “This success indicates the rising status of Taiwan.”
In addition, negotiations are under way with Hong Kong on visa-free entry for ROC citizens. “Results are expected very soon,” James Chu, director of the MAC’s Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, said.
A total of 2.3 million Taiwanese tourists visited Hong Kong in 2010, while 660,000 traveled to Macau. In the same period, 640,000 Hong Kong visitors and 40,000 Macau tourists came to Taiwan. Currently, 27,000 people from Hong Kong and 12,000 Macanese reside in Taiwan, according to Lai.