Executive committee is established to oversee Taiwan-Guatemala FTA

China Post, Taiwan

Executive committee is established to oversee Taiwan-Guatemala FTA

15 August 2006

TAIPEI, CNA.An executive committee was established in Taipei yesterday to oversee the execution of a Taiwan-Guatemala free trade agreement (FTA) that took effect July 1.

Economic Minister Steve Chen and his Guatemalan counterpart, Marcio Cuevas, announced the inauguration of the new commission at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Chen said the committee will be charged with handling matters related to the FTA, including addressing bilateral trade disputes.

The committee passed at its meeting unified "country of origin" certification forms and enforcement rules for resolving trade disputes under the FTA.

The agreement is the second such accord Taiwan has signed following a similar pact with Panama. It is also Guatemala’s first FTA with an Asian country.

Describing the two countries’ economies as complementary to each other, Chen said the free trade pact will spawn new business opportunities for both sides, with Guatemalan farm produce finding new markets in Taiwan while Taiwan’s industrial goods will enter Guatemala on better terms.

Under the FTA, Chen said, Taiwan has agreed to offer an annual 60,000 ton quota for Guatemalan sugar, which, besides benefiting Guatemalan farmers, is expected to help stabilize domestic sugar prices.

As a Guatemalan FTA with the United States has entered into force, Chen said, the Central American country can become a major bastion for Taiwan manufacturers,particularly textile makers, seeking to tap into the vast U.S. market.

Under the FTA, 3,964 categories of Taiwan-produced items can now enjoy tariff-free status on entering the Guatemalan market, while Taiwan offers tariff free privileges for Guatemalan products.

Besides using the tariff-free treatment to expand their Guatemalan market shares, Chen said, Taiwan companies can also set up footholds in Guatemala to explore regional markets.

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