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China to impose further limits on ECFA trade agreement with Taiwan

Taiwan News | 21January 2024

China to impose further limits on ECFA trade agreement with Taiwan

By Duncan DeAeth

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following Beijing’s decision to revoke several preferential tariff provisions under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between China and Taiwan, Beijing looks set to impose more limitations and may be preparing to scrap the ECFA entirely, per reports.

On Saturday (Jan, 20), the official bulletin of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the newsletter for China’s United Front Work Department published articles indicating that Beijing is preparing to expand the suspension of ECFA tariff provisions in response to the results of Taiwan’s presidential elections, reported UDN. Some voices in China’s Ministry of Commerce are reportedly even suggesting that the entire ECFA agreement be terminated.

In December 2023, China ended preferential tariffs on 12 products that are important for the petroleum refining industry. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office indicated in late December that Beijing was prepared to impose further limitations on the ECFA agreement, and this was followed up by similar statements from China’s Ministry of Commerce days before the election.

In the coming days or weeks, China is expected to revoke tariff provisions related to agriculture, machine parts, and textiles. UDN reports that based on comments from China’s Ministry of Commerce, 34 tariff provisions targeting Taiwan’s agricultural and fishery products, including betel nut, fruit, and seafood, will likely be the first to be revoked.

The suspension of these agreements will likely hurt farmers, fishermen, and companies involved in the preparation and packaging of these products.

Before the election of Lai Ching-te (賴清德) as president, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that it had prepared contingency plans and funding programs if China imposes more restrictions to cross-strait trade by making further cuts to the ECFA.

Chinese government agencies have repeatedly suggested that Taiwan is intentionally undermining cross-strait economic relations by refusing to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus,” which the ruling Democratic Progressive Party says would undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty.

 source: Taiwan News