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Singapore, Taiwan To Start Trade Talks

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

17 December 2010

Following the completion of favourable feasibility studies by both countries, it has been announced that Taiwan and Singapore will hold negotiations on the possible completion of an economic partnership agreement early next year.

Under the framework of the World Trade Organisation, of which both countries are members, it has been suggested that completion of such an agreement would represent a breakthrough for Taiwan following the signing of the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China at the end of June this year. It was said, however, that a future trade liberalisation agreement with Singapore would not be called an FTA, to try and avoid giving any problem to China.

Taiwan has looked on the ECFA as ending its isolation, hopefully leading to talks on trade agreements with other Asian countries. Taiwan expects that it will be able to accelerate its further integration into Asia’s regional market, through eventual trade talks with its other trading partners, particularly those within the ASEAN, of which Singapore is a member.

It has been pointed out that a further benefit of a trade agreement with Singapore for Taiwan is that the two economies are complementary, rather than in competition. There should be no significant problems caused by the liberalization of trade in either agricultural or industrial products.

While both sides expressed the view that there would be “significant mutual benefits” from the conclusion of an agreement, no further details were given of when and where their talks would be held.

TAGS: tax | law | tariffs | trade treaty | Singapore | Taiwan | agreements | trade

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