Taiwan and New Zealand formally signed an economic and trade pact on July 10, 2013, the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC). ANZTEC expected to facilitate more FTAs.
Taiwanese Premier Jiang called this free trade agreement (FTA) highly significant, symbolic and exemplary, noting it is the first that the ROC has signed with a nation with which it does not have diplomatic relations. The negotiation process was conducted under the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Jiang said the ANZTEC is estimated to add NT$35.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) to Taiwan’s total production value. It will also help Taiwan to pursue FTAs with other countries, including one with Singapore which is already in development, and will bolster the nation’s effort to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because New Zealand is a founding member of that agreement, he stated.
Though the ANZTEC will benefit Taiwan’s production as a whole, it is also expected to subtract NT$3.5 billion (US$118 million) from its agricultural output due to increased imports from New Zealand, the premier noted. He directed the Council of Agriculture to make comprehensive preparations for the post-FTA environment, formulate response measures, and communicate proactively with the agricultural sector while providing it necessary assistance. One factor that will help mitigate the impact of the agreement, he said, is that because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, its produce seasons are the opposite of Taiwan’s.
The premier also expressed gratitude to relevant ministries and members of the negotiating team for their hard work and directed relevant competent agencies to explain to citizens how the ANZTEC will help bolster relations with New Zealand and benefit Taiwan’s trade and economic development in order to win public support.
“The signing of agreements like ANZTEC demonstrates to the international community that Taiwan is committed to openness and liberalization, and it will never retreat or close itself off from the world,” Jiang declared. “From past developments, we can see that free and open policies have helped enhance our national competitiveness and created the greatest good for the people and the nation.
“While many industries will benefit from this agreement, some others will be harmed by it. No FTA can garner 100 percent gains or 100 percent losses. The government will provide assistance and counseling to those industries which are negatively affected by the pact, however.
“The state will always adhere to the principle of maximizing the benefits for the nation while minimizing the impact of concessions when conducting FTA negotiations in order to secure the greatest possible business opportunities for Taiwanese industries,” the premier concluded.