President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday touted the signing of an economic cooperation agreement with New Zealand as the latest major achievement in the nation’s pursuit of free trade and said the government will seek to sign more such pacts with major trade partners.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office signed the Agreement between the New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) yesterday afternoon in Wellington, New Zealand.
The pact covers investment, trade in goods and services, the movement of people, air transport and indigenous cooperation.
The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu is the name under which Taiwan entered the WTO in 2002.
Signing the pact with New Zealand, a developed country and member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, gives the international community an opportunity to understand Taiwan’s determination to establish a liberalized economy, Ma said yesterday in an interview with Next TV.
“The ANZTEC was signed in less than two years. Other free-trade pacts will be inked soon,” he said.
Once the ANZTEC is fully implemented, Taiwan is expected to see its exports to New Zealand rise by US$624 million and imports from New Zealand increase by US$606 million, while Taiwan’s GDP is forecast to grow by US$303 million.
Ma said the government is to sign an economic agreement with Singapore in the near future.
“Our strategy is to get in touch with different countries and sign cooperation pacts with them one by one. It’s our goal to sign economic cooperation pacts with major trade partners,” he said.
Meanwhile, when asked about the potential adverse impacts of the cross-strait service trade agreement signed with Beijing on June 21, Ma said that opening up 64 service industry subsectors will create more job opportunities in Taiwan.
He dismissed concern that Chinese investments in the service industry will force many local businesses to shut down, while promising to prevent Chinese businesses from engaging in vicious competition with low pricing strategies.
Separately yesterday, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that the signing of the ANZTEC was a very important step for Taiwan to secure trade deals with other nations.
“We hope that the ANZTEC can elevate the domestic economy and help further integrate Taiwan into the regional economy,” Jiang said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan