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Taiwan and Philippines in talks on trade pact
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-17 11:25 AM
Amadeo Perez Jr, the Philippines representative in Taipei, said Sunday that officials of his nation and Taiwan are engaged in talks to hammer out a free trade agreement (FTA) that will serve to boost trade and commerce between the two neighboring countries.

The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), which represents Taiwan in the Philippines, has already begun work on a feasibility study on the proposed FTA, according to Perez. “A feasibility study is in the works. It’s near completion already, yet there is still no concrete feedback from Taiwan on what to do after the study is done,” he noted.

Perez is the director of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines’ representative office in Taiwan. Perez said the Philippines Trade Department is also mulling whether to conduct its own study to ensure the proposed free trade pact would be beneficial to both countries.

“Taiwan asked us to do our own feasibility study. As we speak, they are conducting one of their own, too. This is just a feasibility study. This is not yet a commitment for an FTA,” he said.

Perez said an economic agreement could attract more Taiwanese companies to invest in the Philippines. He noted that a Taiwanese electric vehicle manufacturer recently expressed interest in setting up operations in the Philippines. The company, which is being assisted by TECO in its investigations, is reportedly close to establishing an e-vehicle assembly plant in one of two former locations of US military facilities, at either Subic Bay or Clark Air Base.

At the same time, MECO is engaged in identifying suitable commodities for export to Taiwan. Taiwan’s annual exports to the Philippines amounted to US$7 billion in 2013, twice the Philippines’ exports to Taiwan, estimated at US$3.5 billion.

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