A new agreement between the two countries will ease restrictions on Taiwanese films.

The Taiwanese film industry has welcomed a new agreement with China that will exempt Taiwan-made Chinese language films from the import quota.

The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), signed on June 29, is an historic trade deal that aims to boost economic ties and ease political tensions between the two countries.

Film imports have been included on a list of goods and services – the early harvest list - that will be subject to immediate tariff or exemptions. Previously, Taiwanese films were subject to China’s import quota which allows 40 to 50 foreign films a year to enter China.  In the past 17 years, less than five Taiwanese films were imported to China. Among them, Taiwanese 2008 hit Cape No. 7 (pictured) made around $3.22m on mainland China.

“We expect a great output value on Taiwanese films, if film-makers plan ahead on the mainland China market,” Lee Yong-ping, deputy mayor of Taipei City, told Taiwanese media.

“Now, the market of Taiwanese films is no longer limited to Taiwan but a giant market of 1.3 billion people. And as the market expands, investors of Taiwanese films are more likely to raise their investment and film-makers will see a wider source of founding,” said Taiwanese film-maker Kevin Chu.

Before the signing of ECFA, only films made in Hong Kong were allowed to enter China on a quota-free basis. In 2003, China and Hong Kong signed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which includes several trade liberalisation measures between Hong Kong and mainland China.

On the Taiwan side, the early harvest list allows 10 films from mainland Chinese to be released in the Taiwanese market each year.