Taiwan will negotiate with Malaysia on tariff reductions on hundreds of items in the wake of a regional free-trade bloc agreement that will come into effect next year, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said on Wednesday.
It is hoped that Malaysia will lower its tariffs on 680 Taiwanese products, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero tariffs on chemical and electronics imports, Deputy Representative to Malaysia Lin Ming-li (林明禮) said.
More than 90 percent of the raw materials, machines, equipment and components that Taiwanese businesses in Malaysia currently import from Taiwan are subject to tariffs, Lin said. For example, the rates on chemical products are between 3.5 percent and 8 percent, he said.
A trade liberalization agreement between ASEAN economies that is scheduled to take effect next year is expected to put Taiwanese businesses in Malaysia at a disadvantage, he said.
Lin said that if Malaysia agrees to give Taiwan zero-tariff treatment, Taipei will reciprocate.
A total of 3,750 Taiwanese items exported to Malaysia are currently being taxed.
Taiwanese exports to Malaysia in the first seven months of this year amounted to US$4.07 billion, up 20.6 percent from the same period last year.
Imports from Malaysia in the same period were US$4.81 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent year-on-year, official statistics show.
Meanwhile, an agreement between Taiwan and India on the avoidance of double taxation signed last month took effect on Tuesday.
Deputy Minister of Finance Hwang Ding-fang (黃定方) said the pact, the 21st taxation deal that Taiwan has signed with another country, will help boost Taiwanese businesses’ competitiveness.
The pact follows a customs cooperation agreement between the two countries, which took effect on Aug. 1.
Both agreements were signed on July 12 in New Delhi.
Last year, bilateral trade reached nearly US$6.5 billion, up 55 percent year-on-year, with India suffering a trade deficit of around US$800 million.
Pradeep Kumar Rawat, head of the India-Taipei Association, called attention to India’s huge trade deficits with Taiwan, which grew from only US$197 million in the first half of last year to US$450 million in the first half of this year.
He also expressed doubt on whether bilateral trade would reach US$10 billion this year or next year.
A temporary admission pact, or ATA carnet, between the two countries is also expected to be signed in Taipei at the end of the year, according to Representative to India Philip Ong (翁文祺).