Backgrounder: ECFA, a cross-Strait economic pact
| Chen Yunlin (R front), president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), attends the signing ceremony of the long-awaited Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), with Chiang Pin-kung (L front), chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, June 29, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)
CHONGQING, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators signed the long-awaited Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in Chongqing Tuesday afternoon, a move hailed by many as a milestone in cross-Strait relations.
Aiming to establish a systematic mechanism for enhancing cross-Strait economic cooperation, the ECFA was agreed upon by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).
The ARATS and SEF handle cross-Strait issues on behalf of their respective authorities.
The ECFA will formally take effect one day after both sides "complete due procedures and notify each other," the agreement said.
Under the 16-article agreement, the two sides agreed to "gradually reduce and remove trade and investment barriers and create a fair environment" in the two areas.
The agreement also provides protection for cross-Strait investments to boost two-way capital flows.
A list of items and services to benefit from the pact first with preferential duty cuts and treatment, dubbed the "early harvest program," was agreed on by both sides.