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Taiwan's local legislature has approved the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA. It's expected to bring closer economic ties between the two sides across the strait.
Taiwan's Legislative Yuan voted to pass the ECFA after 12 hours of debates on nearly every article between the ruling Kuomingtang party and other parties.
The ECFA is set to take effect on January 1st, 2011.
Tang Wei, Commerce Ministry, said, "I'm really very glad. It's a recognition of our work. It also proves that people on both sides want to see closer economic ties across the strait."
Under the 16-article pact, the two sides agreed to gradually reduce and remove trade and investment barriers and create a fair environment.
The early harvest program will be carried out within six months after the ECFA is introduced. Tariffs on more than 800 products will be slashed.
Taiwan firms will also enjoy the privilege of being able to enter the mainland's banking and insurance markets.
A separate agreement on intellectual property rights protection has been approved.
The two sides will continue to hold talks on dispute settlement, investment protection and trade assistance to further promote economic cooperation.