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Taiwan backs renewal of pact to protect its IT industry

Taiwan backs renewal of pact to protect its IT industry

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Taiwan will support the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which eliminates all import duties on various IT products for its participants, at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, a Taiwan trade official said Sunday. A new edition of the ITA will include in the duty-free items products of digital convergence, said Bill Cho, director-general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA's) Bureau of Foreign Trade, before leaving for the APEC summit in Hawaii. Because the agreement grants duty-free status for Taiwan's IT products, it will help reduce the impact of South Korea's free trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Union the U.S., Cho said. South Korea is one of Taiwan's major competitors in the IT sector, he noted. Another purpose of renewing the pact is to increase the number of signatories to the agreement, which was signed in 1996 at a Word Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Singapore and went into effect the following year, the official added. New technological products in recent years, such as tablet computers, are not covered by the agreement, said Chang Chun-fu, deputy director of the bureau. Moreover, products of digital convergence will need to be better defined in a revised agreement, he said. Meanwhile, Taiwan will also back the environmental goods and services (EGS) program the U.S. proposed, Cho said. The issues on the agenda in the Nov. 11-12 summit could include a timetable for tariff reduction on green products and gradual elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, he added. The tariff reduction timetable and proportion are most likely to be controversial, despite the APEC members' unanimous support for green development. (By Lin Shu-yuan and Kendra Lin)


Updated : 2020-12-05 22:40 GMT+08:00