Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement
Regions under the ECFA
TypeFree Trade Agreement
SignedJune 29, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-06-29)
LocationChina Sofitel Forebase Chongqing Hotel, Chongqing, China
EffectiveSeptember 12, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-09-12)
SignatoriesChairman Chiang Pin-kung
President Chen Yunlin
PartiesTaiwan Straits Exchange Foundation
China Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits
LanguageMandarin Chinese[a]
Full text
zh:海峽兩岸服務貿易協議 at Wikisource
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement
Traditional Chinese兩岸經濟合作架構協議(定)
Simplified Chinese两岸经济合作架构协议(定)
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese兩岸經濟協議(定)
Simplified Chinese两岸经济协议(定)

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) is a free trade agreement (FTA) between the governments of the People's Republic of China (mainland China, PRC, commonly "China") and the Republic of China (ROC, commonly "Taiwan"), that aims to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers between the two sides, as well as improve cross-strait relations.

The pact was signed on June 29, 2010, in Chongqing, and was seen as the most significant agreement since the two sides split after the Chinese Civil War in 1949, since neither government recognize the other as being the sole government of China.[1][2][3] It was expected to boost the then current US$197.28 billion bilateral trade between both sides.[4] In May 2024, following the inauguration of Lai Ching-te, the PRC suspended preferential tariff arrangements on 134 items under the ECFA.[5]


Further information: Economy of the People's Republic of China, Economy of Taiwan, and Three Links

The government of the People's Republic of China uses its influence on neighboring economic powers to prevent them from signing free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the Republic of China ("Taiwan") which China claims that the ROC has been eliminated and so Taiwan is part of its territory.[6][unreliable source?][7] Instead, under the leadership of the Kuomintang, Taipei was motivated to sign the ECFA with mainland China partly in hope that once it has this agreement the PRC will stop pressuring other countries to avoid such agreements with Taiwan, as well as to counteract the negative consequences of China's free trade agreement with ASEAN.[8]

The ECFA has been compared with the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements mainland China signed with the Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau.[9]

The deal is also structured to benefit Taiwan far more than mainland China. The "early harvest" list of tariff concessions covers 539 Taiwanese products and 267 mainland Chinese goods. The advantage to Taiwan would amount to US$13.8 billion, while mainland China would receive benefits estimated at US$2.86 billion.[10] Mainland China will also open markets in 11 service sectors such as banking, securities, insurance, hospitals and accounting, while Taiwan agreed to offer wider access in seven areas, including banking and movies.[11]

Financial reforms were kicked off on January 16, 2010, with the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Sean Chen and three counterpart agencies in Beijing for Banking, Insurance and Securities. The FSC is hoping that Taiwan will get more leniency in the hurdles set by the Chinese government for foreign players. These hurdles have limited the growth of these foreign players relative to their local peers.[12]

Signing and review

The negotiation process took place over several rounds. Substantive yet informal discussions regarding the ECFA initially took place during the 4th round of SEF-ARATS discussions in December 2009. During this time the delegates for China and Taiwan laid down the framework for the first round of ECFA talks[13] which took place on January 26, 2010, in Beijing. Kao Koong-lian, secretary general and vice chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), led the 13 member Taiwanese delegation while Zheng Lizhong, Vice President of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), represented China's interests.[14] Subsequent rounds of ECFA talks took place on March 31, 2010, in Taipei and June 13, 2010, in Beijing.[14][15] The final agreement was signed during the 5th round of SEF-ARATS talks on June 29, 2010, in Chongqing.[2][16] Chiang Pin-kung, the chairman of Taiwan's SEF represented Taiwan.[17][18] Chen Yunlin, the President of ARATS, represented mainland China.[2][19] Taiwan's Executive Yuan approved the ECFA on July 2, 2010[20] and the Legislative Yuan (parliament) approved the deal on August 17, meaning the deal became law on January 1, 2011.[21] The ECFA came into effect on September 12, 2010.[22][23]



Main article: ECFA Debate

ECFA was widely debated in Taiwan, in regards to potential effects on local Taiwanese businesses,[24] as well as on how the government has presented it to the public. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other pro–independence groups believe that the free trade agreement is a "cover" for unification with China by "inextricably linking" the two economies.[25][26] According to Jie Huang of China Review, it is a means to maintain peace in cross-Strait relations and "ultimately to reach the goal of reunification."[8] A debate was held and televised on April 25, 2010.

Referendum proposals

Main article: Referendums in Taiwan

In 2010, the originally-from-China pan-blue-camp-controlled Referendum Review Committee [zh] several times rejected referendum proposals against Ma Ying-jeou administration's economic agreement with China[27][28][29][30] even the numbers of petition forms for a referendum has been reached and nearly 200,000 signatures has been collected.[31][32][33][34] The public opinion survey shows a majority of respondents opposed the signing of that package with China and many experts and politicians among protesters sees a referendum for this as essential.[35][36][37]


There were some protests against the signing of the ECFA which would boost two-way trade organized by the Sunflower Student Movement, a popular movement that had the general support of, but was not led by, Taiwan's then opposition Democratic Progressive Party.[38] A spokesman for the DPP said the trade agreement with China could damage the local economy and undermine Taiwan's sovereignty as he was against the One China market concept.[39] President Ma Ying-jeou responded that the signing would not lead to a One China market.[40]

Many protesters accuse the agreement as eventually leading Taiwan towards unification with mainland China.[41] The DPP claimed that 100,000 took part in the protest, while the police said there were about 32,000 people.[38] The demonstration started at 3pm and ended by 7pm.[39][42]

Clash in the legislature

On July 8, 2010, a Legislative Yuan meeting was held. The DPP insisted the ECFA agreement be reviewed article by article. That demand was rejected by the KMT caucus.[43] A six-minute fight then broke out among the legislators. Wang Jin-pyng was at the podium surrounded by other KMT legislators. Liu Chien-kuo, Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and Kuo Wen-chen (郭玟成) attempted to get to him and failed. Lawmakers threw paper, water and trash at each other. KMT legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) was hit in the head by a clock. He had to be transported to National Taiwan University Hospital.[43][44] A number of other people were involved in the scuffle. Two KMT legislators held DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen responsible for the clash.[43]

See also



  1. ^ Chris Hogg (2010-06-29). "Taiwan and China sign landmark trade agreement". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2010-07-10. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  2. ^ a b c "Chinese mainland, Taiwan sign landmark economic pact". 2010-06-24. Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  3. ^ Taiwan News, ECFA signing scheduled for June 29 Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine June 25, 2010
  4. ^ "Taiwan's 2013 trade surplus with China shows 21.6% growth - Focus Taiwan". 10 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  5. ^ Kang, Taejun (May 30, 2024). "China suspends tariff arrangements on 134 items under Taiwan trade deal". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  6. ^ Taipei Times Archived 2009-09-15 at the Wayback Machine 2009/09/12
  7. ^ Taipei Times Archived 2009-09-28 at the Wayback Machine 2009/09/25
  8. ^ a b Huang, Jie (Fall 2012). "TPP versus ECFA: Similarities, Differences, and China's Strategies". China Review. 12 (2). Chinese University Press: 87. JSTOR 23462218.
  9. ^, (2010), 陸學者:ECFA與CEPA提升競爭力[permanent dead link], 2010-07-10 (in Chinese)
  10. ^ "ECFA signing scheduled for June 29 - Taiwan News Online". 2010-06-25. Archived from the original on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  11. ^ "China Pulls Taiwan Closer With Historic Trade Deal (Update1)". BusinessWeek. 2009-12-08. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  12. ^ Financial Reforms Open China to the Taiwanese, by Sam Radwan, Bloomberg Businessweek, Jan 2010
  13. ^, (2009), [1] Archived 2011-01-01 at the Wayback Machine 2009-11-18
  14. ^ a b, (2010), [2] Archived 2012-09-29 at the Wayback Machine 2010/01/25
  15. ^, (2010), [3], 2010-03-29
  16. ^ "Taiwan services to face onslaught from China after ECFA: DPP Government denies Chinese white-collar workers coming". 2010-04-06. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  17. ^ China Daily, (Xinhua) SEF chairman sets goal to sign ECFA by June Archived 2010-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2010-04-03
  18. ^ "Taiwanese businesses in China will not be able to use 'MIT': MAC". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  19. ^ "focustaiwan". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  20. ^ " Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine." ECFA sent for second reading. Retrieved on 2010-07-10.
  21. ^"[4] Archived 2020-04-12 at the Wayback Machine." Taiwan-China trade deal passed by Taipei legislators. Retrieved on 2010-08-18.
  22. ^ "UPDATE: Taiwan, China Trade Pact To Become Effective Sunday". The Wall Street Journal. 2010-09-11.[dead link]
  23. ^, (2010), Historic Taiwan-China trade deal takes effect Archived 2017-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, 2010-09-12
  24. ^ Taipei Times Archived 2009-08-03 at the Wayback Machine 2009/07/31
  25. ^ "etaiwannews Editorial". 2009-10-06. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
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  28. ^ ECFA referendum proposal rejected Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2010/6/4
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  30. ^ Heated words from the TSU after latest ECFA referendum rejection Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Formosa News, 2010/8/11
  31. ^ DPP completes first stage of ECFA referendum bid Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2009/7/21
  32. ^ Protesters demand referendum Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2010/5/30
  33. ^ TSU still fighting for vote on ECFA Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2010/7/1
  34. ^ TSU submits signatures for another ECFA referendum Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2010/11/23
  35. ^ DPP poll reveals majority opposed to signing of ECFA Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2010/3/26
  36. ^ DPP chairwoman renews call for referendum on ECFA Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Focus Taiwan, 2010/4/9
  37. ^ Ex-grand justice sees ECFA referendum as essential Archived 2016-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Taipei Times, 2014/4/22
  38. ^ a b "[permanent dead link]." Thousands protest in Taiwan against China trade deal. Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
  39. ^ a b "" Taiwan Opposition Holds Rally to Protest China Trade. Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
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  42. ^ " Archived 2010-06-29 at the Wayback Machine." 626遊行真的擠爆凱道. Retrieved on 2010-06-26.
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