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Flag of Taiwan
  1. Taiwan Main Page
  2. Breaking from Mainland Influence
  3. New President Brings New Beginning
  4. Heightened Tensions
  5. Independence Rejected
  6. Political Leaders Stumble, Fall
  7. Taiwan and China Benefit from Trade Agreement
Taiwan and China Benefit from Trade Agreement

Taiwan and China signed the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement, a landmark free-trade agreement in June 2010 that lifted or reduced hundreds of tariffs for both sides. Officials from both Taiwan and China described the deal as the most important achievement since the 1949 civil war. Taiwan seemed poised to benefit more economically from the deal than China, and China saw a political benefit as the agreement brings the two closer together.

On June 30, 2011, ex-president Lee Teng-hui was indicted on charges of embezzlement. Upon delivery of the 23-page indictment, the 88-year-old Mr. Lee, accused of siphoning $7.79 million from a National Security Bureau fund during his presidency, became the second Tawainese president to be charged with fraud.

President Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected in January 2012 in a close race with Tsai Ing-wen, who was Taiwan's first female presidential candidate. The business community breathed a sigh of relief when Ma won reelection. Taiwan's economy has prospered since the 2010 free-trade agreement with China and relations have thawed. However, not all Taiwanese have benefitted as house prices have soared and the income disparity has grown. Tsai's supporters expressed fear that Ma was getting too close to China.

On February 6, 2012, Sean Chen assumed office as the premier. Almost exactly a year later, Sean Chen stepped down due to health problems. In his one year as the premier, he faced severe public criticism, partly due to the country's difficult economic issues. He was replaced by Vice Prime Minister Jiang Yi-huah.

High-ranking officials from China and Taiwan met in Nanking, China, in February 2014. It was the first time since the 1949 split that minister-level officials held talks. While the meeting was largely symbolic, it signalled that both sides want to maintain stability and develop warmer ties.

Hundreds of protesters, mostly students, occupied Parliament in March, demonstrating against implementation of a service trade agreement with China. The deal is part of the controversial Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement Taiwan signed with China in 2010. Protesters said the trade agreement would hurt Taiwan's small businesses and give China further influence over Taiwan. They also objected to a lack of transparency in passing the agreement. President Ma defended the deal. "Regional economic integration is an unstoppable global trend. If we do not face this and join in the process, it will only be a matter of time before we are eliminated from the competition," he said. "For the sake of the nation's development, we truly have no choice."

See also Encyclopedia: Taiwan .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Taiwan
Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics www.stat.gov.tw/ .
See also Timeline: Taiwan Key Events (1945–Present) .

Information Please® Database, © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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