Sun, Jan 02, 2011 - Page 1 News List

ECFA ‘early harvest’ list tariff cuts come into effect

Bloomberg

Taiwan and China lowered import tariffs on more than 800 products yesterday under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

China cut duties on 557 items imported from Taiwan including fish and bicycles, an increase from 539 when the ECFA was signed in June, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its Web site on Wednesday. Taiwan will lower tariffs on 267 items such as tea and cement from China as part of the “early harvest” list.

The “early harvest” list includes items that will enjoy preferential tariffs first under the EFCA, a treaty that also includes the opening of industries.

Cross-strait tensions have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in May 2008 and dropped the pro-independence stance of his predecessor, making economic relations with China the government’s priority. Taiwan has signed 15 deals with China since 2008, most recently an agreement on medical and healthcare cooperation last month.

“Taiwan’s economic growth is very likely to overshoot in 2011 because of the agreement with China,” Aidan Wang (王誠宏), an economist at Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧), said by telephone on Friday. “More significantly, Chinese tourists and capital will contribute to Taiwan’s domestic demand and help the nation to be less export dependent.”

The nation’s benchmark TAIEX has climbed 21 percent since the ECFA was signed and it closed at a two-and-a-half-year high on Friday.

China also opened markets in six service industries yesterday, including banking, securities, insurance, hospital services, design services and civil aircraft repairs, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.

The seventh cross-strait talks this year will continue to discuss an investment protection accord, Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中), vice chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, told reporters in Taipei last month.

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