China and Taiwan Sign Agreement to Reduce Tariffs on Hundreds of Items

Taiwan and China on Tuesday signed their first trade pact, a wide-ranging agreement that will reduce tariffs on hundreds of petrochemical, textile and other items, and open services including banking to cross-strait investment, binding the two economies closer together.

Negotiators from the two sides signed the pact, called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, and an agreement on intellectual property protection in Chongqing, China during the fifth meeting between Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, Wall Street Journal reports.

Under terms of the agreement, China will reportedly reduce tariffs on hundreds of items from Taiwan that could amount to $13.8 billion in savings, according to figures from the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits that were cited in a report by Bloomberg News.

Some Taiwanese lawmakers expressed opposition to the agreement, saying it marked a turning point in relations which could have far reaching consequence for the island and its government, which has been under self-rule since 1949, MarketWatch says.

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