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Taiwan to negotiate FTA with Singapore (Hong Kong) | Thursday, August 05, 2010

Taiwan To Negotiate FTA With Singapore

by Mary Swire

It has been announced that Taiwan and Singapore will initiate talks later this year on the feasibility of signing a bilateral economic cooperation agreement under the framework of the World Trade Organization.

The completion of such an agreement would represent a breakthrough for Taiwan following the signing of the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China at the end of June this year. Taiwan has looked on the ECFA as ending its isolation, hopefully leading to talks on free trade agreements (FTAs) with other Asian countries.

It was said, however, that a future trade agreement with Singapore would not be called an FTA, to try and avoid giving any problem to China. However, Taiwan will now expect that it will accelerate its further integration into Asia’s regional market, through eventual trade talks with its other trading partners, particularly those within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Singapore is a member.

It was pointed out that a further benefit of a trade agreement with Singapore for Taiwan is that the two economies are complementary, rather than in competition. There should be no significant problems caused by the liberalization of trade in either agricultural or industrial products.

While Singapore is not a top export destination for Taiwan’s industrial products, it is likely that the latter’s service sector, particularly finance and transportation, would gain the most from an agreement.