Mainland,Taiwan Negotiators Sign Landmark Economic Pack
Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators have signed the long-awaited Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA, a move hailed as a milestone in cross-Straits relations.
The landmark trade deal will cut tariffs on more than 800 products and open up service industries.He Fei has more.
China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation which handle cross-Straits issues on behalf of their respective authorities have signed the ECFA in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.
Xu Shiquan, Executive Vice President of the National Society of Taiwan Studies, says the mainland and Taiwan have made a great leap forward in economic cooperation by signing the ECFA.
"Since June 2008, the two sides have realized trade and economic normalization, transferring from indirect trade to direct trade. Now the ECFA indicates that the mainland and Taiwan have made progress in the institutionalization of economic and trade cooperation."
Huang Mingzhi, President of Shenzhen-based Taiwan Merchants Association, says the deal will bring mutual benefits to businessmen from both sides.
"Taiwan businessmen can receive preferential tariff treatment if they want to export goods to the mainland. Also, Taiwan entrepreneurs on the mainland can guide mainland counterparts to invest in Taiwan, because Taiwan has good technologies and talented people. We can develop our enterprises together."
The deal gives Taiwan companies tariff advantages on some 530 categories of goods for mainland export. Mainland companies will receive tariff advantages on some 260 categories in the Taiwan market.
Xu Shiquan says the mainland has taken Taiwan businessmen's benefits into full account.
"The early harvest list of tariff and market concessions shows that the mainland is trying to mitigate a negative impact on Taiwan's job market and the weak trend industries such as agriculture and animal husbandry. For example, the 267 items on which the mainland can enjoy a tariff preference are competitive industries in Taiwan, so goods from the mainland will not threaten companies from Taiwan."
The deal also opens Taiwan to mainland film and business services. The mainland's computer services, airline maintenance and medical sectors will be open to Taiwan's investment.
Xu says the ECFA is only the first step in economic cooperation and will not settle all the problems the mainland and Taiwan businesses face. More work still needs to be done now that the agreement has been signed.
For CRI, I'm He Fei.