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Taiwan-Singapore pact passes preliminary legislative review
Central News Agency
2013-12-16 03:01 PM
Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The Taiwan-Singapore economic cooperation agreement passed a preliminary review by a joint committee of the Legislative Yuan Monday. The Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), signed Nov. 7, is the first free trade agreement sealed between Taiwan and a Southeast Asian country. In a report to the Legislature, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said the signing of the ASTEP demonstrates Taiwan's determination to promote trade liberalization and will help create favorable conditions for Taiwan's bids to take part in regional economic integration initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Over the next 15 years, the ASTEP is expected to add US$701 million to Taiwan's gross domestic product, increase local output value by NT$42.1 billion and create 6,154 jobs, the ministry said. Also, the agreement will raise Taiwan's total exports by US$782 million and imports by US$719 million, it said. Under the ASTEP, Singapore will remove all tariffs on goods from Taiwan, including six types of alcoholic beverages that are not covered by Singapore's tariff reduction commitments under the World Trade Organization. Taiwan, meanwhile, will immediately eliminate tariffs on 83 percent of Singapore goods and gradually increase the zero-tariff treatment to cover 99.48 percent of products from the city state. Taiwan will maintain import tariffs on 40 agricultural products, including rice, garlic, dried mushrooms, red beans, pineapples, mangoes, coconuts and unshelled peanuts. Because Singapore is not an agriculture-based economy, the ASTEP will not impact Taiwan's agriculture sector, the MOEA said. (By Tseng Ying-yu and Y.F. Low)
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