The most anticipated cross strait free trade agreement, ECFA, has been signed in the end of June, 2010. The tariff reduction arrangement and service market open up signal that the greater Chinese business circle is firming up.
539 items of goods and 11 service sectors are included in the early harvest list to the benefit of Taiwan whereas 267 items of goods and 9 service sectors to the benefit of mainland China. The tariff on the listed goods will go down to zero in three years at the very last. The service sectors are defined according to the definition of WTO’s services sectoral classification list. The two sides made commitment to the three modes of supply in each sector respectively: cross border trade, consumption abroad and commercial presence.
The term early harvest is mostly applied in the wine industry. Early harvest means grapes are harvested before ripeness. So the timing is not perfect, but you get your wine earlier and for sure. There are a lot of industries that felt disappointed by not being included in the early harvest list this time. Car makers, for instance, is one of the disillusioned.
The quality of the wine would be much better if the grapes are fully ripe. So not being early harvested might not be a bad thing. So long as it can be harvested eventually. Nonetheless, the worry is also warranted. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. What if the second harvest never comes?
The two sides will both deem the results acceptable if not satisfactory. For the industries, some are happy and some sad across strait. If the cross strait relation continues to improve, the free movement of all goods and services will eventually come true. However, mutual trust is still fragile and needs special care. All in all, so long as the people on both sides can continue to harvest, the bond will grow stronger and the great Chinese business community will be more tightly woven together as anticipated.