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Pact with New Zealand could help industry, hurt agriculture: study

2012/05/18 23:21:05

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) A proposed economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and New Zealand could benefit Taiwan's industrial and service sectors but would hurt the country's agricultural and livestock sectors, according to a government study released Friday.

The study on the possible impact of the proposed deal on Taiwan's economy concluded that if a deal with New Zealand were forged, the industrial sector would see its annual output value grow by NT$35.8 billion (US$1.2 billion) and add 8,000 jobs.

The service sector's production value would grow by an estimated NT$42.8 billion, and it would gain 37,000 jobs, the study predicted.

The farming and livestock sectors, however, would be hurt by such a trade deal, according to the study, which was conducted by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Based on the assumption that annual value of the agricultural sector totals NT$300 billion, once Taiwan fully opens its doors to agricultural imports from New Zealand under the proposed trade accord, the production value of the sector would fall by nearly NT$5 billion, or 1.66 percent.

CIER research fellow Tu Chaw-hsia suggested in the report that the farming and livestock sectors consider importing raw materials from New Zealand and process them into products with high added value.

Taiwan's imports from New Zealand totaled US$610 million in 2010, consisting mainly of dairy products such as milk and butter and frozen beef, lamb or goat meat.

It exported US$473 million in goods to New Zealand the same year, mainly stainless steel products, bicycles, and machine parts and components, the report said.

Judging from the low volume of the two-way trade, Tu said she believed that the proposed economic cooperation agreement between the two countries would have more symbolic than substantive significance but could help Taiwan promote economic and tradeagreements with other countries.

Earlier in the day, the ministry announced that Taiwan and New Zealand will soon begin formal negotiations on the proposed economic agreement agreement.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Elizabeth Hsu)