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China Times: Paving Taiwan's way to TPP

China Times: Paving Taiwan's way to TPP

Taiwan and New Zealand announced on Oct. 25 they had agreed to conduct a joint feasibility study into an economic cooperation agreement (ECA). This marks Taiwan's latest achievement in its efforts to expand cooperation with its trade partners over the past two years, after signing an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China and launching free trade talks with Singapore. Taiwan is New Zealand's eighth-largest export market and 15th-largest source of imports, with the value of bilateral trade totaling more than US$1 billion a year. Taiwan mainly imports beef, lamb, milk, cheese, kiwifruit and apples from New Zealand and exports industrial products to New Zealand. Among those exports, bicycles, steel screws, bolts and nuts, and rubber tires are currently subject to a 5 percent tariff in New Zealand. The proposed Taiwan-New Zealand ECA, if signed, will help enhance the competitiveness of Taiwanese exports. In addition, with both New Zealand and Singapore being founding members of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP), signing a trade agreement with the two countries will give a huge boost to Taiwan's bid to join the TPP. We cannot be too optimistic about an ECA with New Zealand, however, given the slow progress on a proposed Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP). When the two sides announced the launch of a joint feasibility study on such a deal on Aug. 5, 2010, Taiwan's government predicted that the negotiations would be completed within a year. With more than a year having passed, the talks have reportedly stalled because Taiwan is concerned that Southeast Asian agricultural products could make inroads into the Taiwanese market through Singapore, which would affect local farmers. There should be no more delays. We need to be ready to open our market to catch up with South Korea, which is moving fast toward completing its global free-trade network. (Editorial abstract -- Oct. 29, 2011) (By Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-10-18 16:50 GMT+08:00