Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Taiwan and Japan are mulling signing a tax agreement to avoid double taxation in an effort to further boost bilateral trade relations, following an investment pact inked by the two sides last year, a Japanese lawmaker said Wednesday in Taipei.
Both Taiwan and Japan are carefully considering the possibility of signing the agreement, one of the steps that will help pave the way for a bilateral free trade pact, Japanese Representative and Renaissance Party founder Yoichi Masuzoe said.
"Many Japanese enterprises want to have that agreement," which will help them penetrate Taiwan's market, Masuzoe told CNA on the sidelines of a seminar held to discuss Taiwan-Japan relations over the 40 years since the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1972.
"There is a need from the private companies from Japan, so that our government would like to promote this," he said in English.
Meanwhile, he noted that the improving Taiwan-China ties will also make it easier for Taiwan and Japan to conclude such a tax agreement.
"I'm very optimistic about that," he said.
At the seminar, Masuzoe also touched on the issue of Japan's preparations to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, a multilateral free trade agreement that is being negotiated by Australia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and the United States.
Last year, Japan expressed its willingness to join the TPP negotiations, while Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has set a goal for Taiwan to participate in the TPP within 10 years.
Taiwan and Japan will have to undergo reforms in the agriculture and service sectors to create conditions necessary for joining the TPP, Masuzoe said.
Su Hsien-yang, a research fellow at the Taipei-based Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, said at the seminar that Taiwan needs to enhance the quality and safety of its agricultural products to better cope with further trade liberation.
(By Elaine Hou)