Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China and Taiwan signed a
landmark investment pact on Thursday. The agreement cuts red tape at customs
and includes safeguards against sudden expropriation of property. It also gives
individual investors some protection in the case of legal trouble with
authorities. Outside the venue where the
deal was signed, hundreds of protesters demonstrated against Beijing's possible
colonisation of the island.
Beijing's chief negotiator Chen Yunlin and his
Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Pin-kung inked the long-awaited deal, which will
provide a legal umbrella for Taiwan companies in the mainland should they face
the authorities or possible seizure.
Chen and Chiang also signed a cooperation pact to
speed up customs procedures in the hope of boosting two-way trade.
In the agreement, the mainland and Taiwan promised to
provide equal, if not preferential, treatment for investors from both sides.
In cases of Taiwanese nationals working for a
Taiwan-invested company on the mainland, mainland police will be required to
inform his or her relatives of the detainment within 24 hours. The same rules
will be applied to Taiwanese police.
The new deal comes in the wake of agreements signed in
2010 that improved trade relations, two-way tourism and investments.
Not everyone in Taiwan likes the deal. Barbed wire and
about 1,300 police officers were deployed around the meeting venue where the
two delegations met to keep at bay about 700 protesters.
Many Taiwanese are afraid that Taiwan's reliance on
the mainland could become too much. Used to democracy, they are concerned about
the dictatorial nature of China's government.
Relations between China and Taiwan improved in 2008
with the election of Ma Ying-jeou as president, who began a policy of
rapprochement and friendship with Beijing after the turbulent years of
pro-independence President Chen Shui-bian.
The mainland is Taiwan's largest trade partner, and
more than 80,000 Taiwanese companies now operate on the mainland, where they
have invested more than US$ 100 billion over the years.