Taiwan to propose economic cooperation pact with Australia
Taiwan will express the idea of signing an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) with Australia at an upcoming vice ministerial-level trade and economic meeting between the two nations in Taipei, according to sources from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Taiwan previously presented such a proposal after the signing of the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) in July 2013, the source said.
Australia turned down that proposal, saying that it lacked the manpower to handle the issue because at the time it was negotiating with China over a free trade agreement (FTA), the source said.
Since the China-Australia FTA was sealed last month, however, the ministry will bring up the ECA proposal for discussion again at the planned two-day economic meeting with Australia, scheduled to open July 14.
According to MOEA statistics, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Australia reached US$10.88 billion in 2014, making Australia Taiwan’s 13th-largest trade partner.
Last year, Taiwan exported US$3.558 billion-worth of products to Australia, while importing US$7.33 billion-worth of goods from there.
Australian exports to Taiwan declined by 7.26% in 2014, whereas exports from New Zealand recorded growth of 22.3%, thanks to the ANZTEC, according to the Economics Ministry.