Taiwan has submitted a copy of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) to the WTO pursuant to the global trade organization’s rules and procedures, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
“The nation’s WTO representative office sent the ECFA notification to the WTO Secretariat Friday,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.
The ministry said the notification was aimed at providing the WTO with an “early announcement” of the ECFA, which Taiwan and China signed on June 29 last year and came into effect on Sept. 12.
The notification also shed light on the ECFA’s contents, the pact’s “early harvest” program, and the following cross-strait negotiations of agreements on goods and services, Chang Chun-fu (張俊福), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, said in the statement.
Meanwhile, bureau Director-General Bill Cho (卓士昭) said on Thursday that Taiwan can be a reliable partner for European businesses planning to enter the Chinese market, as the two sides of the Taiwan Strait maintained very close economic and trade relations, with 370 direct flights operating every week across the Strait.
With the cross-strait trade pact, Taiwan will be able to play a pivotal role in East Asian economic integration, Cho said at the first Taiwan-Italy -economic and trade forum in Rome.
Taiwan is expected to complete free-trade talks with Singapore later this year, he said.
Cho suggested that European businesses form partnerships with Taiwanese companies and use Taiwan as a springboard to the Chinese and East Asian markets, which he said would create a “win-win” situation.
Amedeo Teti, Italy’s director-general of international trade, said Italian businesses have been exploring new markets and have so far extended their footprints to South America.
Teti said his country had long considered strengthening its economic ties with Taiwan, but had delayed the idea in light of the tense political atmosphere across the Taiwan Strait.
The ECFA has finally created a new opportunity for cooperation between Italy and Taiwan, Teti said.
Fredrik Erixon, a director and co-founder of the European Centre for International Political Economy, said he saw great potential for further expansion of trade between Europe and Taiwan.
TRADE IN NUMBERS
Currently, the bulk of European exports to Taiwan is comprised of machinery, which accounts for 26 percent of the total, while Taiwan’s main exports to Europe are electronics and machinery, making up 41 percent of the total, Erixon said.
Fan Chun-pai (樊雋白), an official from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said Taiwan has a strong technological edge and is a major supplier of parts and components for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
Most importantly, Fan said, Taiwan’s intellectual property rights laws would provide full protection for any European businesses that enter into joint ventures with Taiwanese enterprises.