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Taiwan, New Zealand To Study ECA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

21 December 2011

The New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office (NZCIO) in Taipei and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Wellington have agreed to begin a joint study on the feasibility of an Economic Cooperation Agreement between New Zealand and Taiwan.

The announcement follows the completion of the independent studies that were commissioned in October, and the joint study process will involve consultation with business stakeholders in both New Zealand and Chinese Taipei, according to the NZCIO.

The proposed agreement with New Zealand could be Taiwan's first trade treaty to be concluded, but is said to be only one of many under discussion with Taiwan’s other trading partners after the conclusion of the economic cooperation framework agreement (EFCA) between Taiwan and China, which went into effect on September 12, 2010.

For example, in May this year, it was disclosed that Taiwan and Singapore had begun talks on an economic cooperation agreement, after completion of a feasibility study, while studies are being progressed with India and Indonesia.

With New Zealand and Singapore being two of the original signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the extension of which is currently being negotiated under the leadership of the US, Taiwan could have ambitions of joining into regional free trade agreements (FTAs) in the future.

Taiwan had looked on the ECFA as ending its isolation, hopefully leading to talks on trade treaties with other Asian countries, but progress on that front has been slow. An aggressive FTA strategy by South Korea, Taiwan's main trade competitor, has been causing concern in Taiwan, and the government is looking at the effects that the South Korea-European Union FTA, after it came into effect on July 1 this year, and the agreed South Korea-US FTA, could have on Taiwan’s economy.

TAGS: tax | business | trade treaty | Taiwan | agreements | New Zealand | trade

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