Singapore, Taiwan sign free trade agreement

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taiwan tradeSingapore and Taiwan signed an economic partnership agreement on November 7 to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the culmination of nearly three years of negotiations, the two sides announced.

The pact, officially called the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership, or ASTEP, was signed in Singapore by Hsieh Fadah, Taiwan’s representative to Singapore, and Calvin Eu, Singapore’s representative to Taiwan.

Both sides agreed in December 2010 to launch negotiations after respective feasibility studies and the first round of negotiations began in May 2011. All negotiations on ASTEP were completed in May this year. Negotiations were completed in May.

Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin told reporters in Taipei following the signing ceremony that the deal is the first economic cooperation agreement with a Southeast Asian country, which he said helps create an environment conducive to Taiwan’s continued efforts to join regional trade blocs such as the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership and China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Lin said Taiwan has respectively completed the feasibility of concluding similar agreements with India and Indonesia and the feasibility study with the Philippines is almost complete.

Taiwan Economic Affairs Minister Chang Chia-juch hailed the agreement with Singapore, the island’s fifth largest trading partner and fourth largest export market, as “a milestone achievement for Taiwan’s progress toward economic liberalization and our participation in regional economic integration.”

To integrate into regional economies, Chang said all TPP and RCEP members are possible targets for talks on bilateral trade pacts.

ASTEP is a comprehensive agreement covering areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, dispute settlement, e-commerce, government procurement and customs procedures, the two sides said in a joint announcement.

Taiwan will liberalise 99.48 per cent of its tariff lines, excluding 40 products, such as rice, mangos, garlic and shiitake mushrooms, while for certain products that are used domestically or are less competitive, such as home appliances, auto engines, auto parts, and motorcycles, ASTEP allows for a longer transition period.

Singapore will liberalise 100 per cent of its tariff lines, including six kinds of alcoholic beverages (beer and samsu), which will boost Taiwan’s beer expansion in the Singaporean market.

Taiwan is Singapore’s eighth largest trading partner and 10th largest export market. Bilateral trade in 2012 totaled $23.2 billion.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore and Taiwan signed an economic partnership agreement on November 7 to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the culmination of nearly three years of negotiations, the two sides announced.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

taiwan tradeSingapore and Taiwan signed an economic partnership agreement on November 7 to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the culmination of nearly three years of negotiations, the two sides announced.

The pact, officially called the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership, or ASTEP, was signed in Singapore by Hsieh Fadah, Taiwan’s representative to Singapore, and Calvin Eu, Singapore’s representative to Taiwan.

Both sides agreed in December 2010 to launch negotiations after respective feasibility studies and the first round of negotiations began in May 2011. All negotiations on ASTEP were completed in May this year. Negotiations were completed in May.

Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin told reporters in Taipei following the signing ceremony that the deal is the first economic cooperation agreement with a Southeast Asian country, which he said helps create an environment conducive to Taiwan’s continued efforts to join regional trade blocs such as the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership and China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Lin said Taiwan has respectively completed the feasibility of concluding similar agreements with India and Indonesia and the feasibility study with the Philippines is almost complete.

Taiwan Economic Affairs Minister Chang Chia-juch hailed the agreement with Singapore, the island’s fifth largest trading partner and fourth largest export market, as “a milestone achievement for Taiwan’s progress toward economic liberalization and our participation in regional economic integration.”

To integrate into regional economies, Chang said all TPP and RCEP members are possible targets for talks on bilateral trade pacts.

ASTEP is a comprehensive agreement covering areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, dispute settlement, e-commerce, government procurement and customs procedures, the two sides said in a joint announcement.

Taiwan will liberalise 99.48 per cent of its tariff lines, excluding 40 products, such as rice, mangos, garlic and shiitake mushrooms, while for certain products that are used domestically or are less competitive, such as home appliances, auto engines, auto parts, and motorcycles, ASTEP allows for a longer transition period.

Singapore will liberalise 100 per cent of its tariff lines, including six kinds of alcoholic beverages (beer and samsu), which will boost Taiwan’s beer expansion in the Singaporean market.

Taiwan is Singapore’s eighth largest trading partner and 10th largest export market. Bilateral trade in 2012 totaled $23.2 billion.

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