China, Taiwan Forge Strongest Ties Yet with Sweeping Trade Deal

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a historic new trade deal between the mainland and Taiwan:

The deal, known as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), will lower tariffs on two-way trade that’s now estimated at around $120 billion annually and improve mutual market access in services, among other benefits.

The agreement steered well clear of politics, with officials from both sides insisting that ECFA touches only on economic issues. Indeed, the Chinese term for the deal refers only to “two shores,” making no mention of China or Taiwan’s official titles, and ECFA was signed by semiofficial representatives, not government officials.

But the deal is a sign of how much relations have improved between China and the self-ruled island it views as its own. Caught in a vicious cycle of mistrust and recriminations just two years ago, the two sides have since inked a dozen transport and commercial deals, with ECFA being by far the most important.

See also:

ECFA text (Chinese)
Taiwan-China trade agreement: A game changer from Fortune
How will the trade pact change China-Taiwan relations? from BBC
Private groups may be first to set up trade offices in China: official from Focus Taiwan


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