Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 12 News List

MOEA completes ‘early harvest’ list for talks on ECFA

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA AND AFP

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has completed a tentative “early harvest” list that would be included in the cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) and is ready to negotiate the details with China.

The list will only be made public after it is finalized through negotiations between the two sides, Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬) said.

TARGETED ITEMS

Although Huang declined to disclose the goods and services included on the list, he commented on the principles that guided the selection of the targeted items.

In the service sector, the MOEA has targeted areas that China agreed to open when gaining accession to the WTO but which remain inaccessible to Taiwan, Huang said.

Others targeted were services for which China has granted preferential tariffs to other countries, and those that are favorable to Taiwan, Huang said.

An ECFA impact assessment report released recently by the MOEA said the government could request that China open its market to financial, computer-related, research and development, logistics, civil aircraft maintenance and freight forwarding services from Taiwan.

In terms of products, Taiwan expects China to open its market to export items that are favorable to Taiwan but subject to high Chinese tariffs, Huang said.

Others are those for which China has granted preferential duties to its free-trade agreement partners, and sensitive goods that Taiwan hopes can be opened up flexibly, he said.

TRADE SURPLUS

Meanwhile, the bureau said on Tuesday that the nation’s trade surplus was likely to reach a record US$30 billion this year, as imports were expected to have plunged at an even faster rate than exports.

Exports, which fell nearly 32 percent in the first eight months of the year, are likely to be down by a more modest 15 percent to 20 percent for the full year, the bureau estimated.

Imports dropped nearly 40 percent in the first eight months and are forecast to fall by about 24 percent for the year as a whole, the bureau said.

“This year’s record trade surplus will make a palpable contribution to economic growth,” the bureau said in a statement.

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