Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan mulls WTO complaint against Canada over textiles

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan may file a complaint with the WTO against Canada over its long refusal to allow generalized preferential tariffs (GPT) on textile products made in Taiwan, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official said yesterday.

Since 1974, Canada has granted GPT treatment to more than 1,000 products, including bicycles, lumber, machine tools, sanitation equipment, steel goods, eyeglasses, auto parts and textiles, from China, South Korea and several other countries that are similar to Taiwan in terms of economic development.

Since its accession to the WTO in 2002, Taiwan has been lobbying Canada for similar tariff terms, but Ottawa has remained cool to the requests, the MOEA official said.

“When our two countries held an economic and trade consultation conference in January, Canada finally gave a slight response, but its promise only further disappointed us,” the official said.

At present, Canada allows Taiwan most favored nation (MFN) tariff treatment, under which tariff rates range between 3 percent and 6 percent. In comparison, most of the 1,000-plus items that are given GPT treatment enjoy zero tariffs. The tariff gap between GPT and MFN for textile goods is 3.51 percent, which has hampered the competitiveness of Taiwanese textiles in the Canadian market against similar products from South Korea and China.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) has directed MOEA agencies to use all means possible to protest Canada’s policy on Taiwanese textile products, the official said, adding that Taiwan might lodge a protest, or even file a complaint, with the WTO if necessary.

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