Taiwan calls for cargo transit permission from China

02 / 11 / 2009

THE head of Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration has called for China to allow carriers to offer cargo transit services through the island state.Speaking on the eve of the latest round of high-level cross-strait negotiations, Lee Lung-wen, director-general of the CAA, said he hoped the proposal would be seriously considered at the aviation consultations that will happen later this year, following the initial talks.“We are arranging for a new round of face-to-face talks on certain issues that were not addressed in the previously signed aviation agreement," Lee said.Under the present agreement, direct cross-strait flights can only transport Taiwan- and China-bound cargo but not freight destined for third destinations.China has resisted the move so far because agreeing to it would be admitting that cross-Strait routes are international and by default that Taiwan is independent from the mainland; a sensitive issue with the Chinese government.“We will try to convince Chinese aviation officials during the planned meeting to change their mind,” Lee said.Estimates suggest local carriers' air cargo volumes, such as China Airlines, would more than triple if cross-strait flights are allowed to carry cargo destined for other countries.