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Amendment to Panama FTA appendix approved

Taipei Times, Taiwan

Amendment to Panama FTA appendix approved

By Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff Reporter

23 November 2011

The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the appendix of the Taiwan-Panama free-trade agreement (FTA) allowing Panama to take full control of quota-setting and granting zero-tariff status to all in-quota sugar exports to Taiwan.

Presently, the appendix stipulates that the exports will enjoy zero-tariff treatment when the tariff quota is set by Taiwan, but will only enjoy most-favored-nation treatment when the quota is set by Panama.

Panama has not exported any sugar to Taiwan since the FTA took effect on Jan. 1, 2004, but Taiwan changed the unfavorable rule to show its goodwill to its Central American ally to boost two-way trade.

The amendment to the appendix was agreed upon during an official visit to Panama by Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) in May.

Meanwhile, the legislature yesterday ratified a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and Japan that covers three main categories — investment promotion, investment protection and investment liberalization.

Taiwan and Japan signed the agreement on Sept. 22 to accord national treatment and most-favored-nation treatment to each other’s investors, with the exception of investment in the communications, gambling and financial services industries.

The investment promotion provisions include the free outward remittance and utilization of funds; proscription against imposing local content ratios for materials or parts on each other’s investors; sympathetic consideration by the government of granting short-term stay or work visas to investors and their employees who apply to enter for the purpose of establishing, developing or managing investments, or providing consultation; and regulatory transparency.

In the area of investment protection, the agreement expands the coverage of protection; provides for reciprocal fair treatment and safety assurance of investors; establishes an international arbitration approach for dispute resolution; and demands that in case of requisition for public purposes, the government should provide the affected investor of the other part with timely, effective and adequate compensation.

In the area of investment liberalization, each side affords investors from the other side with national treatment in the establishment, acquisition, expansion, operation, management, utilization and disposition of invested enterprises.