The Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement: Deliberation on Economic, Political and Legal Aspects

AuthorZhichao Chen
PositionPh.D. Candidate (Expected in July 2011) in International Economic Law at Xiamen University. LL.B./LL.M. (Extinction, Xiamen)
The Cross-Strait Economic
Cooperation Framework
Agreement: Deliberation on
Economic, Political and
Legal Aspects
Zhichao Chen
After careful deliberation and through rounds of talks, the Chinese mainland and
Taiwan signed the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in
2010. This agreement is viewed by many across the straits and around the world as
an agreement with great implications not only for economic issues, but also for
political interactions between the two sides. Moreover, as the two sides of the ECFA
are WTO members, legally, the relevant rules concerning free-trade agreement under
of the WTO regime are applicable to the ECFA. This article will give a brief analysis
on the economic, political and legal aspects of the ECFA.
ECFA, Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation, Early Harvest Planning, WTO
KFBJM2)3122* Dijob 153
* Ph.D. Candidate (Expected in July 2011) in International Economic Law at Xiamen University. LL.B./LL.M.
(Extinction, Xiamen). Visiting Ph.D. Student at Utrecht University from March 1 to May 30, 2010; World Champion
of Dillard Competition with teammates, the 47th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition,
Washington D.C., March 2006. This article is a part of researches under a Major Project funded by the Chinese
Social Sciences Funds - Research on Legal Regimes to Promote and Protect Chinese Overseas Investments(No.
09&ZD032) co-chaired by Prof. Zeng Huaqun and Prof. Yu Jinsong. He is grateful to Prof. Zeng Huaqun and Prof.
Cai Congyan for their helpful comments. The author may be contacted at: Address:
International Economic Law Institute, Xiamen University, Xiamen City, Fujian Province, 361005, P.R.China.
1. Introduction
On June 29, 2010, Mr. Chen Yunlin, Chairman of the mainlands Association for
Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Mr. Chiang Pin-kung, Chairman of
the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) signed the Cross-Straits
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). The ECFA is an agreement
which aims at institutionalizing economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait. As a
critical legal measure to the future interaction across the straight, it would facilitate and
regularize economic cooperation and trade exchanges between two sides.
The idea of a cross-Strait economic pact dates back to April 2005 when Hu Jintao,
general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and
Lien Chan, then chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party in Taiwan, jointly issued
the common aspiration and prospects for cross-Strait peace and development
Beijing. In this document, the two parties proposed to jointly promote all-round
economic exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan and establish a cross-Strait
economic cooperation mechanism. It was confirmed that the consensus will be built into
the KMTs policy as a keynote of Premier Ma Ying-jeous regional leader campaign.
On December 31, 2008, Hu Jintao delivered a speech at a meeting in commemoration
of the 30th anniversary of the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.
He put a clear
position in this speech that the mainland and Taiwan could sign a comprehensive
economic cooperation agreementand build a unique mechanism to achieve mutual
benefit. Not surprisingly, this proposal was well received by Ma Ying-jeou. Since to a
large extent, our success in the [regional leader] election can be attributed to our partys
policy in handling the cross-straight relations, its quite natural that we will stick to our
words,said Mr. Chiang Pin-kungin in an interview by Caijing Magazine.
several rounds of talks, negotiators were finally able to ink the deal in Chongqing,
154 [/Difo
1As a legal mechanism, the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) has at three
antecedents: the creation of the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation in 2000 by the current vice regional leader
of Taiwan, Vincent Siew; the formal accession of the two side across the strait to the WTO in 2001; and the signing
of Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) by the mainland with Hong Kong and Macau, respectively.
See generally
Terry Cooke,
Cross-Strait Matrix: the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement
, 9 C
available at
ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=7&cHash=f0b872132a (last visited on Jan. 6, 2011).
2Hu Jintao, Chinese President, Address at the ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the announcement
of Message to Compatriots in Taiwan (available only in Chinese),
available at
newscenter/2008-12/31/content_10586495.htm (last visited on Jan.18, 2011).
3Hu Caiping,
Jiang Bingkun: ECFA Taiqian Muhou
[Chiang Pin-Kung Talks as an Insider on the ECFA Negotiation]
(available only in Chinese), CAIJING, July, 5, 2010,
available at
chargecontent2.jsp?id=110473226&time=2010-07-05&cl=106&page=1 (last visited on Jan. 28, 2011).

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