Taiwan and Israel will study the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) before 2013, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday.
Lin Jinn-jong, director-general of the MOFA’s Department of West Asian Affairs, attributed the breakthrough to the “elimination of political considerations,” saying that years of discussions have led to the fruitful result.
He explained that because Israel is a diplomatic ally of China, the relationship between Taiwan and Israel is especially difficult to maintain and improve.
Lin said that Israel approached Taiwan in October and the move highlighted the strengthening of bilateral relations in recent years.
Acknowledging that it may be years before the agreement is inked, Lin said the next step is for the two countries to probe the benefits of a potential FTA and exchange relevant information.
It was also announced yesterday by the MOFA that Taiwan and Israel will ink an aviation agreement soon
Lin Jinn-jong, director-general of MOFA’s Department of West Asian Affairs, said the agreement is “almost in its final stage.”
Lin said the agreement will involve an air rights framework and cooperation between carriers, but declined to reveal further details.
Although many countries in the Middle East have expressed interest in forging closer aviation ties with Taiwan, such agreements take time, he said.
The director-general listed Russia as an example of how long such negotiations can take, saying that Taiwan has been engaged in talks with that country for 17 years, without any concrete results.
Mongolia and Turkey are also in talks with Taiwan on possible aviation cooperation, he added.