Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Taiwan to fight for WTO tariff flexibility

CNA , TAIPEI

The nation will defend its interests by asking for more flexibility in lowering its tariffs for various products in the forthcoming WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said yesterday.

Ho said Taiwan will adopt an aggressive opening strategy in the field of non-agricultural products in the meeting next week and will call for the adoption by the WTO of a formula under which the higher the tariffs a member state employs, the deeper cut in tariffs it should take.

Ho said that Taiwan will lower its tariffs in return for easier access to the markets of the US, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, India and Brazil. As a result, tariffs on products the country can produce at competitive cost, such as musical instruments, dyes, hand tools, sportsware, watches and jewelry will be lowered to zero.

As for agricultural and fishery products, the minister said that Taiwan will use its bargaining power to apply for longer periods for lowering tariffs on them.

The nation's WTO entrance in 2002 has contributed 2.2 percent to domestic per capita income because of increased trade with other nations, according to the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research. Though the agricultural population was cut slightly after entering the WTO, the production value of agriculture has increased to NT$600,000 (US$17,900) from NT$500,000 per capita due to increased exports of rice and tea.

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