The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said yesterday that the earliest the cross-strait customs cooperation agreement signed between Taiwan and China last week will take effect will be Jan. 1 next year.
“We do not know if the agreement is subject to substantive examination by the legislature or just for future reference,” Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) told a press conference.
The customs cooperation agreement, designed in part to raise customs clearance efficiency, was signed by Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) on Thursday.
Chang said that the signing of the customs cooperation agreement is necessary, as all of the 608 items included in the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement’s (ECFA) early-harvest list will be subjected to a zero-tariff rule from next year — meaning that the facilitation of customs reporting and information-sharing are highly needed.
Under the agreement, companies from both sides of the Taiwan Strait should enjoy lower costs after customs valuations and tariff classifications are standardized, Chang said.
The agreement will also provide a legal framework for further two-way authentication of authorized economic operators (AEO), Chang said, adding that these authorized operators may enjoy free paper and cargo examination for commodities transported with duty-paid value of more than NT$100 million (US$3.33 million).
Chang said he expects customs cooperation between Taiwan and China to demonstrate to other countries the benefits of trade with Taiwan and prompt more countries to sign cooperation agreements with Taiwan in the future.
The ministry is also scheduled to sign a two-way authentication of an AEO with the US by the end of this year.