Republic of China gets closer with Tariff-Free Trade

Venkat Raman

New Zealand shares a unique status with the Republic of China (Taiwan), with historic connections, although geo-politics and the ‘One China Policy’ has restrained recognition of the latter as a political entity.

However, trade ties between the two countries have been growing and reached a significant milestone when a Free-Trade Agreement was signed in Wellington on December 1, 2013.

Although Taiwan is not mentioned as the ‘Republic of China,’ the Agreement titled it ‘ANZTEC,’ a shortened version of ‘Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation.’

Facilitating exports and imports

Guann-Jyh Lee, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade at the Economic Affairs Ministry of Taiwan in Taipei, said that all duties have been removed on all Taiwan exports entering New Zealand since January 1, 2017.

“As at the end of 2017, almost 99% of exports from New Zealand entering Taiwan are tariff-free. The value of exports from New Zealand to Taiwan was US$ 841 million in 2017, an increase of 18% since ANZTEC took effect. Taiwan’s exports to New Zealand totalled US$ 562 million in 2017, an increase of 12%,” he said, during a meeting that he hosted for visiting journalists from the Indo-Pacific region at his office on August 13, 2018.

Other areas of cooperation

Mr Lee said that in addition to trade in goods, Taiwan and New Zealand also cooperate on such issues as indigenous peoples, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, film and television co-production, and trade and labour.

“Implementation of these chapters under ANZTEC have facilitated industrial cooperation and economic development between both sides,” he said.

Taiwan also exports high-quality bicycles, computers and many other products that could be of interest to New Zealand importers and consumers. However, these have not been promoted appropriately through trade shows and expos.

Indian Newslink will publish a separate article on the activities of the ‘Taiwan Trade Development Council (TAITRA) in its next issue.

Incentives for growth

Mr Lee said that the Taiwanese government, through its Economic Affairs Ministry actively promotes the growth and development of startups and encourage them to become active partners in international trade.

“Among the facilities provided are buildings mechanisms such as incubators, managerial guidelines and solving specific issues. In September 2018, we will have in place ‘Start-Up Terraces’ for new companies,” he said.

Mr Lee said that an Industrial Park has been established in Taiwan’s Export Zone in which new companies qualified to export goods participate. Our commercial banks also provide credit to boost exports, while the government has credit guarantee schemes,” he said.

He said that as an open and friendly community, the Republic of China welcomes foreign investors and Foreign Direct Investment and provides appropriate facilities and support for their active participation in the economic progress of the country.

Foreign Trade impetus

As an insular, export-oriented economy, Taiwan views foreign trade as the backbone of its economic growth.

In 2017, the value of Taiwan’s exports totalled US$ 317.25 billion, the second highest total in its trade history, as well as the largest rate of increase, at 13.2%, in the past seven years.

According to the information provided to Indian Newslink,

Such growth resulted mainly from the continuing recovery of the global economy, the strong demand for electronic products and machinery in overseas markets, and the stabilisation of crude oil and raw material prices.

“In 2018, the global economy and trade are expected to continue expanding steadily, while Taiwan’s trade pattern should continue to be stable. Therefore, in order to enhance our international and regional links, diversify our foreign trade patterns, and reinforce the momentum of our export growth, our Bureau will continue its trade promotion work and actively help our industries explore overseas markets,” Mr Lee said.

“Through bilateral economic and trade dialogues, we are teaming up with industries to eliminate trade barriers and seeking new trade opportunities. For example, we intend to strengthen linkages in bilateral industry chains between Taiwan and the US, and Taiwan and the EU, as well as with New Southbound countries, including ASEAN member states, six countries in South Asia, Australia, and New Zealand,” he added.

Australia and New Zealand

Taiwan continues to hold bilateral consultation meetings with New Zealand and Australia in 2018 to enhance economic and trade relations.

“We will commission TAITRA to organise manufacturing and food industry trade missions to visit New Zealand and Australia, while strengthening the utilisation of ANZTEC for zero tariff opportunities. In 2018, we will organise two events in Taipei, the ‘Joint Energy and Minerals, Trade and Investment Cooperation Consultations’ and the ‘Joint Conference of the ROC-Australia and Australia-Taiwan Business Councils,” a communication said.

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