|Mainland, Taiwan negotiators sign landmark economic pact|
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.
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.
The two sides agreed on the items to be included in the "early harvest program" that will benefit from the pact first with preferential duty cuts and treatment.
The "early harvest program" will launch within six months of the ECFA taking effect, the agreement said.
Under the agreement, the two sides will continue discussing agreements for commodity trade, service trade and investment over the next six months.
The signing of the agreement was broadcast live on the China Central Television (CCTV).