Taiwan and Japan yesterday signed agreements on industrial cooperation and recognition of product specifications and standards, moving a step closer to the inking of a free-trade agreement after the two countries signed an investment protection accord in September last year.
The two nations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on industrial cooperation, covering 11 sectors — wind power, solar power, automobiles, LED, hand tools, mechanical components, electronic equipment, digital content, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, information services and e-commerce.
“The signing of the MOU will enhance economic ties between Taiwan and Japan, paving the way for increased trade cooperation,” Industrial Development Bureau Deputy Director-General Leu Jang-hwa (呂正華) said at the signing ceremony in Taipei.
After seven years of negotiations and assessments, the two sides also inked a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) on conformity assessment of electrical and electronic equipment, which is expected to take effect in six months, pending approval by the two governments.
Under the MRA, the cost of reviewing electrical and electronic product specifications and standards to be exported to both countries will be lowered to boost bilateral trade.
“The signing of the MRA marks a new milestone for strengthening Taiwan-Japan trade ties,” Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection Director-General Chen Jay-san (陳介山) said.
The MRA covers a total of 277 and 454 electrical and electronic products listed in the nation’s Commodity Inspection Act (商品檢驗法) and Japan’s Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law respectively.
Chen said after the MRA takes effect, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry would accept product inspection certificates issued by Taiwanese commodity inspection services companies recognized by Japanese authorities, removing trade barriers for Taiwanese exporters.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs will also accept product inspection certificates issued by Japanese inspection firms recognized by the Taiwanese government, he added.
Taiwan has signed MRAs on electromagnetic compatibility with the US, Canada and Australia, as well as those on conformity assessment of electrical and electronic equipment with New Zealand and Singapore between 1999 and 2005.
The government is now in talks on MRAs with the Philippines, India and Saudi Arabia, which Chen said would greatly improve Taiwanese firms’ competitiveness and boost exports.
The two pacts were signed by Taiwan’s Association of East Asian Relations Chairman Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) and Interchange Association, Japan Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi in Taipei.
Liao and Ohashi said Taiwan and Japan were also in talks on signing an MOU on pharmaceutical affairs.
“Taiwan and Japan will create a ‘win-win’ solution by signing an MOU on regulations governing pharmaceutical affairs,” Liao said, adding that two sides might sign the pact next month.
The two associations “will accelerate talks [on the MOU] to deal with an aging population, an issue that both countries face,” he said.
In September last year, Taiwan signed an investment protection pact, an open sky agreement and an MOU on the Patent Prosecution Highway program with Japan.
Thanks to the agreements, the IDB yesterday said it received 505 investment applications from Japanese firms in the first 10 months of the year, up 40 percent from the same period of last year, with total investment hitting NT$11.4 billion, up 15.39 percent from a year earlier.