Taiwan-China deal 'to cut tariffs on 500 items'

Some 500 Taiwanese petrochemical, machinery, auto parts and textile products will be among the first to benefit from tariff reductions under a landmark trade deal with China, Taiwan newspapers reported said.

Taiwan-China deal 'to cut tariffs on 500 items'

Some 500 Taiwanese petrochemical, machinery, auto parts and textile products will be among the first to benefit from tariff reductions under a landmark trade deal with China, Taiwan newspapers reported said on Sunday.

The reports also cited China's Taiwan affairs head Wang Yi as telling Taiwanese delegates to the third round of expert-level talks on the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that the deal was certain to be signed by the end of June.

Wang's comments, which the reports said were made at a Saturday evening function ahead of Sunday's talks, are the clearest confirmation yet of the contents of the deal and the timing of the signing, both the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks.

The reports said the tariff reductions for petrochemical products could be about 60 percent and those for textiles 80 percent.

Together all the items on the initial list for reductions, dubbed the "early harvest list", account for some 15 percent of Taiwan's exports to China, they said.

Taiwan's Premier Wu Den-yih had estimated in an interview with Reuters last month that some 300 items would make the list.

Taiwan is banking on ECFA opening doors to trade deals with other major economies such as Japan, the United States and Southeast Asian nations, allowing its export-reliant $390 billion economy to stay competitive with regional rivals.

The deal's critics, however, fear a flood of cheap Chinese imports could destroy Taiwan's economy, and see the deal opening the way for a political takeover by erstwhile foe China.

The Taiwanese government's attempt to sell the deal to a sceptical public had taken a hit earlier this month when a Chinese official was quoted as saying that it would not allow its allies to sign separate deals with Taiwan after ECFA.

But the island's lead negotiator on the China trade deal, Chiang Pin-kung, told Reuters in an interview on Friday that the comments should not be "over-interpreted".

He also said he could not estimate when it would be signed.



Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2010, 10:15
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