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Guatemala FTA passes first reading

Taipei Times

Guatemala FTA passes first reading


29 November 2005

A Taiwan-Guatemala free-trade agreement (FTA) passed the first reading in the Legislative Yuan yesterday and is expected to become effective on Jan. 1.

"The Taiwan-Guatemala FTA passed first reading in the legislature today. If everything goes smoothly, it will be approved by both the Taiwan and Guatemalan legislatures before the year-end and become effective on January 1 next year," a Board of Foreign Trade said, asking not to be named.

The Guatemalan deal will be the nation’s second FTA after the Taiwan-Panama FTA which became effective on Jan. 1 this year.

The government hopes the pact will pave the way for Taiwanese manufacturers to ship their goods made in Guatemala to the US as the Central American Free Trade Agreement will also become effective in Jan. 1 next year.

Under the pact, Guatemala will abolish tariffs on 447 Taiwanese items in return for the removal of tariffs on 644 Guatemalan farm products, including 54,331 tonnes of sugar annually.

Meanwhile, the government is also speeding up FTA talks with Nicaragua.

"We have held four rounds of talks with Nicaragua and are now in the stage of legal review. So the talks are almost completed," the board official said.

Taiwan is also seeking to sign FTA with the US, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, but the response in this countries has been lukewarm.