"If the worsening world economic situation continues and the Taiwan side asks for help to solve economic difficulties, the mainland is willing to offer assistance with utmost efforts," said Jia Qinglin, the fourth-most-powerful person in the Communist Party of China, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Jia didn't specify what kind of assistance or how much would be offered, but urged Taiwan to make it easier for mainland businesses to invest there.
Stimulus measures by China to boost its economy will also provide trade and investment opportunities for Taiwan businessmen, he said.
The two-day forum between the two parties to discuss cooperation in financial and service industries and two-way investment opened in Shanghai on Saturday. The chairman of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party, Wu Poh-hsiung, and honorary chairman Lien Chan attended, as well as 400 delegates including businessmen, experts and officials from the two sides, Xinhua said.
During the forum, Wu urged the two sides to work together to ride out the global economic downturn, according to a Nationalist Party statement.
"We should help Taiwanese businesses on the mainland to secure (Chinese) loans," the statement quoted Wu as saying. "The two sides should also allow investment in each other's public infrastructure projects."
According to a statement on the Chinese government's Web site, Jia urged greater cooperation in financial services and called for a normal flow of capital across the Strait.
He said the two sides should sign agreements on the regulation of banking, securities and insurance firms.
Taiwan has seen a significant fall in its exports this year, one of the main engines of the island's economic growth. Exports hit a three-year low of $16.8 billion in November, falling 23 percent from a year earlier, as the island felt the pinch from the global slowdown.