Taiwan, Nicaragua revise FTA to zero tariff on paper

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 12

Nicaragua has agreed to revise a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan that was inked in 2008, lowering tariffs from 15 percent to zero percent for Taiwan’s printed paper, rubber and plastic shoes, and metallic furniture, the Bureau of Foreign Trade said yesterday.

The decision was made on Thursday at the second Taiwan-Nicaragua FTA committee meeting in Taipei, which was cohosted by Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) and Nicaraguan Foreign Trade Director-General Cristian Martinez, the bureau said in a statement.

“The FTA has been effective for nine years. We are glad that Nicaragua is willing to cooperate with Taiwan, strengthening the bilateral trade relationship through the revised agreement,” said a bureau official, who declined to be named.

After the proposed revision of the FTA takes effect, Taiwan’s exports of printed paper, rubber and plastic shoes, and metallic furniture would save a combined US$580,000 in tariffs annually, the official said.

In addition to the aforementioned Taiwanese goods, about 90 percent of products from Taiwan are to be exempted from tariffs, he said.

After consulting with Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖) and other domestic sugar suppliers, Taiwan agreed to increase refined sugar imports from Nicaragua from 20,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes per year, as domestic suppliers expect limited effect from increased imports, the official said.

Taiwan has also agreed to increase annual imports of crude sugar from Nicaragua from 30,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes, he said.

Taiwan has agreed to offer zero tariffs on imports of Nicaraguan beef offal, considering Taiwan provides Singapore and New Zealand the same treatment based on their respective FTAs, he added.

The official said Taiwan and Nicaragua would have to undergo domestic administrative procedures to ratify the proposed revision before officially inking the deal.

“The bureau hopes to sign the agreement before the end of the year,” he said.

Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 103 percent to US$155.4 million last year, compared with US$51.97 million in 2007, a year before the FTA was inked, bureau data showed.