Wednesday December 21, 2005
Legislature Ratifies Taiwan-Guatemala Free Trade Agreement
TAIPEI, Dec 21 Asia Pulse - The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday ratified the Taiwan-Guatemala free trade agreement (FTA), which will now take effect Jan. 1, 2006 as scheduled.
The agreement was signed by President Chen Shui-bian and his Guatemalan counterpart Oscar Berger Perdomo Sept. 22 during Chen’s state visit to the Central American country. Chen had expressed the hope that the FTA would come into effect on the first day of 2006 in line with the implementation of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
The CAFTA covers the United States, central American nations and the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has assessed that the Taiwan-Guatemala FTA will have only a limited impact on Taiwan’s agricultural sector because despite the fact the island will open its doors wide to agricultural imports from the country, there will be strict screening and quarantine measures in place.
While signing the pact, Chen said that the FTA will help redress the trade imbalance between Taiwan and Guatemala, which is currently heavily in Taiwan’s favour. He further said that Guatemala can use Taiwan as a gateway to explore the wider Asian market while Taiwan can use Guatemala as a springboard into the North American market.
Vice Economics Minister Chen Ruey-long affirmed the pact in November of last year while filing a report on it at the Legislative Yuan, saying that the FTA between Taiwan and Guatemala is expected to boost Taiwan’s annual exports by an estimated 5.5 per cent to 6 per cent.
In 2004, Taiwan exported US$110 million worth of goods to Guatemala while importing US$4.1 million worth of Guatemalan products, according to official statistics.