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China, Taiwan Sign Landmark Trade Deal

China and Taiwan have signed a landmark trade agreement, seen as the most important economic deal since the two sides split in a civil war 60 years ago.

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement ends import tarrifs on some 800 items.

It was signed in the central Chinese city of Chongqing in a ceremony carried live on state television today.

The deal is especially favorable to Taiwan as it allows its companies greater access to huge markets in China.

Critics of the deal say China hopes to use it for political gains in its long campaign for unification with Taiwan.

China and Taiwan have been split since 1949, but China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has warned it would use force if the island declared independence.

compiled from agency reports