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The evolution of cross-strait relations : from WTO accession to a free trade agreement

English Abstract

During the last 20 years the WTO system, as a multilateral or even global system, has changed and is still changing the world order at various levels ranging from the local to the national and from the regional to the international level. This huge impact brought about by the WTO also applies potentially to the Greater China area, especially for the cross-strait relations between the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei, where two governments have coexisted since the end of Civil War in China. After 2002 (China in 2001 and Chinese Taipei in 2002), both parties’ accessions to the WTO were successful, which largely improved the bilateral relations changing from coexistence to cooperation. However, the speed of changes was not slow but accelerated by the development of regional trade agreements (RTAs), mostly in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs), under which the contracting parties can exempt certain trade obligations from the Most Favored Nation (MFN) principle and grant preferential treatment to each other. China and Chinese Taipei concluded an FTA in 2010, which is called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) taking the cross strait relations to a new era. Compared with other FTAs signed both by China and by Chinese Taipei before as well as after the conclusion of the ECFA, the ECFA features some special and different treatment clauses among the two sides which may be inconsistent with those stipulated by the WTO legal system. Hence, the present thesis will analyze the cross-strait relations from the perspective of international trade law including the WTO regime in general and the ECFA framework in particular with a view of fostering economic integration not only across the Taiwan Strait but also within the Greater China area containing Hong Kong and Macau SAR.

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Guo, Bo Chuan


Faculty of Law




Free trade -- China

Free trade -- Taiwan

China -- Commerce

Taiwan -- Commerce


Neuwirth Rostam J.

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