Bill on tariff-free treatment for allies clears Legislature
Taipei, Nov. 26 (CNA) A bill to lower import tariffs to zero on 234 items for three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies -- Belize, Honduras and Paraguay -- was passed by the Legislative Yuan on Friday and is expected to expand economic and trade exchanges.
An amendment to the Customs Import Tariff cleared the legislature to lower tariffs to zero, either at once or incrementally for the three allies, in line with economic cooperation and trade agreements signed by Taiwan and the three countries.
Under the newly passed amendment, Taiwan will lower tariffs on 199 items imported from Belize, including fish, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, juice, wood products and cocoa products, while cutting tariffs on 25 items imported from Honduras, such as diary products, fruit and vegetables.
In addition, a total of 10 items imported from Paraguay, including sugar and rice products, will enjoy tariff-free status, according to the amendment.
On Friday, the Legislative Yuan also unanimously ratified an Economic Cooperation Agreement, which was signed with Belize in September 2020.
Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Tah-ray Yui (俞大㵢) has said the agreement is expected to create a win-win situation for Taiwan and Belize through reciprocal economic and trade exchange.
In addition to a move by Taiwan to lower tariffs on 199 items imported from Belize, Yui said the Caribbean ally will grant preferential tariff status to 33 Taiwanese export items. These include starch related products, bike tires, textiles, steel, hand tools, machine tools, auto and motorcycle components and water sports equipment, according to the economic cooperation agreement.
Yui said Taiwanese companies are expected to use Belize, which is one of the Caribbean Community's 15 members, as a spring board to enter the Caribbean trade bloc's market.
In addition, Belize has also signed trade agreements with the European Union, Canada and Colombia, while the Caribbean country has been granted preferential trade status by the United States, Canada and Japan, Yui said, adding that closer ties with Belize are expected to help Taiwan expand its exports, Yui said.
Belize is expected to use Taiwan as a gateway to expand in the Asian market, he added.
As Taiwan and Belize are speeding up the pace to boost their economies amid COVID-19, the economic deal is expected to help the countries enhance their friendship and boost economic benefits, he said.
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