Taiwan pened trade agreement with Singapore on November 7, 2013. The economic cooperation agreement signed between Taiwan and Singapore will not only bring wide-ranging benefits to both sides but also improve Taiwan’s prospects of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other trade blocs, said Taiwanese Premier Jiang Yi-huah.
The Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP) is a high-quality, high-standard pact negotiated under the World Trade Organization framework. Its successful conclusion demonstrates Taiwan’s resolve to participate in regional economic integration, Jiang said. Singapore is Taiwan’s fifth-largest trading partner and the first Southeast Asian nation to sign such an accord with Taiwan.
Taiwan was able to negotiate terms to protect its less competitive industries, the premier said. Under the ASTEP, tariff reductions will not apply to 40 Singaporean imports including rice, while tariffs on home appliances and other items will be gradually eliminated over a 10-year period. Nevertheless, government agencies must still prepare local businesses for these changes and help them to adapt.
Premier Jiang directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to quickly submit the ASTEP to the Legislature for ratification. He also asked the Ministry of Finance to begin revising regulations and reducing tariffs in accordance with the agreement.
The ASTEP follows the signing of the ANZTEC (Agreement between New Zealand and the Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation) with New Zealand on July 10. The ASTEP negotiations began in May 2011.


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