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Taiwan-El Salvador FTA still effective: MOEA

2019/03/14 18:26:15

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 14 (CNA) El Salvador has never asked to cancel a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan so the deal remains in place, even though the Central American country switched diplomatic recognition to China last year, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Thursday.

The FTA with El Salvador was part of a trilateral deal that was first signed by Taiwan, El Salvador and Honduras on May 7, 2007 and took effect in 2008, according to a statement issued by the MOEA.

Under the terms of the agreement, if a country wishes to withdraw, it must inform the others 180 days in advance, the MOEA said, adding that Taiwan never received any such notice from El Salvador.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has not been notified either that El Salvador wishes to pull out from the FTA, the ministry said.

Under the FTA, Taiwan has tariff-free concessions on some 3,500 items exported to El Salvador and has removed import duties on about 5,600 items from El Salvador, the ministry.

Currently, sugar accounts for 66 percent of El Salvador's total exports to Taiwan, according to the MOEA.

The MOEA statement was issued after El Salvador's highest court reportedly ruled to suspend the country's decision to withdraw from the FTA, in an injunction filed by its sugar industry, which argued that such a move would hurt its business interests.

The decision by incumbent President Salvador Sanchez Ceren last December to withdraw from the FTA put the sugar industry's property rights and legal security in jeopardy, according to a Reuters report.

Taiwan and El Salvador cut diplomatic ties on Aug. 21, 2018.

(By Joseph Yeh)