In early 2009, the Ma administration in Taipei and the Chinese government in Beijing began seriously discussing the possibility of signing a free trade agreement between the two. The stakes are quite large and so is the controversy around any such deal. Ever since 1949, when nationalists fled the mainland, China considers Taiwan a breakaway province that should fall under Beijing’s rule. Taiwan, on the other hand, has been trying to build and maintain its autonomy as a sovereign democratic state. Military tensions have surrounded this antagonistic relationship for 60 years, while China has been quite successful in asserting its "one China" policy among the world’s governments and alienating Taiwan diplomatically.
The new urge to sign an FTA comes after the nationalists lost power in Taiwan’s 2008 elections. China is, in fact, Taiwan’s top trading partner. Taiwanese businesses have built up strong investments in the mainland and the island’s political leadership is particularly concerned about losing economic strength in Asia once the China-ASEAN FTA starts coming into force in 2010.
The big question is whether a China-Taiwan FTA would trigger the start of Taiwan’s transition toward effective economic and political control by Beijing ("reunification"). In this regard, people have even been fighting over the possible name of the FTA. Taiwanese opposition forces insist that it should not be called a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, as originally proposed, because that is what China’s FTAs with Macao and Hong Kong are called. (Therefore, calling it a CEPA would insinuate that Taiwan has the same political status as these two special administrative regions of China.)
In June 2010, the governments of China and Taiwan signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which took effect in September 2010. The two governments intend to complete negotiations under this agreement by 2014. There have been major protests and much criticism of the deal in Taiwan.
last update: May 2012
PANG warns against Fiji’s ratification of IEPA | 22-Jul-2014
The secret deal that threatens NHS | 19-Jul-2014
Les négociations TAFTA et CETA utilisées pour affaiblir la législation climatique européenne | 17-Jul-2014
Malta: Anti-TTIP front launched | 15-Jul-2014
EJN condemns EPA | 13-Jul-2014
EFF: We join dozens of organizations and businesses to protest TPP copyright proposals | 11-Jul-2014
Susan George : “La mobilisation contre le traité transatlantique est difficile à cause du secret” | 11-Jul-2014
Los agricultores protestan en Seúl por el TLC con China | 10-Jul-2014
Las protestas contra el TTIP en el Reino Unido se centran en la privatización del Sistema Nacional de Salud (NHS) | 10-Jul-2014
Toutes et tous hors Tafta ! | 10-Jul-2014
Farmers protest China FTA in Seoul | 10-Jul-2014
AFL-CIO and ETUC issue "Declaration of Joint Principles" | 10-Jul-2014
Ilana Solomon : « En matière d’énergie et de climat, le TTIP nous entraîne exactement dans la mauvaise direction. » | 8-Jul-2014
Who lobbies most on TTIP? | 8-Jul-2014