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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_p ... 406487.stm
14:27 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 15:27 UK
Taiwan and China agree details of key trade deal
By Cindy Sui
BBC News, Taipei
The two sides have been negotiating the deal for months Taiwan and China have finalised details of what many believe will be the most important agreement between the two sides in 60 years.
The agreement - similar to a free-trade pact - will cut export tariffs and give more access to each other's market.
While it is expected to boost Taiwan's $390bn (Â£260bn) economy, critics are worried it could give China too much influence over the democratic island.
The two sides split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Following a year of negotiations, the two sides hammered out the agreement on Thursday. It gives Taiwan more economic benefits than China.
More than 500 Taiwanese products - including auto parts, petrochemicals and fruit - will be able to enter the booming Chinese market with reduced tariffs immediately and no tariffs within three years.
Only about half the number of Chinese products will get similar treatment in Taiwan.
Taiwan's government said the deal will boost trade, increase economic growth and help the island's exports stay competitive.
But critics fear it could unleash a flood of cheaper Chinese goods, cost thousands of jobs and make Taiwan too dependent on China.
And they warn it could be the first step by Beijing to eventually take back Taiwan, citing the unusual concessions Beijing has made.
China still considers Taiwan its province and has more than 1,000 missiles targeting the island to warn it against declaring formal independence.
The agreement is scheduled to be signed in China next Tuesday.
A major demonstration is being planned in Taiwan by the opposition party Saturday to protest against the agreement.
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For those unfamiliar with the ECFA (兩岸經濟合作架構協議):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_C ... _Agreement
This is the 4th formal negotiations round. China has agreed to lower tariffs and restrictions on 539 items for Taiwanese businesses, and Taiwan has agreed to lower tariffs/restrictions on 267 items for Chinese businesses.
Of the 539 agreed items, the tariffs would be reduced, in 3 stages over 2 years, down to zero tariffs. 108 out of the 539 items would enjoy immediate removal of tariffs.
The list of 539 items include 18 agricultural items, 88 petro chemical items, 107 mechanical, 136 textile, 50 transportation, and 140 other.
The Chinese side probably gave Taiwan an advantage in the trade talks, in exchange for perceived political gains.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_p ... 434768.stm
Taiwan weighs up historic China trade deal
Page last updated at 02:26 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 03:26 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version By Cindy Sui
BBC News, Taipei
There is concern in Taiwan over the influx of cheaper Chinese goods Standing in a plaza with thousands of other protesters, 50-year-old Chang Fu-meng couldn't think of anything more important to do on a Saturday.
The fisherman from Kaohsiung county, in southern Taiwan, had travelled by bus for hours with his wife to protest against an historic free trade agreement (FTA) Taiwan is scheduled to sign with China.
"I'm most worried about mainland [China's] products coming here. Taiwan's small and medium-sized enterprises won't be able to survive and workers won't be able to find work," said Mr Chang, about the expected influx of cheaper Chinese goods once tariffs are cut.
But, economics aside, Mr Chang and others fear even more that the agreement would harm the sovereignty of the island.
Taiwan cherishes its democracy and self-rule, but is still considered by China as a province to be reunified, despite being ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
"Taiwan will never be able to become a country after this deal is signed," said Mr Chang.
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