Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan-Singapore trade pact expected to clear legislature

Staff writer, with CNA

The trade pact signed between Taiwan and Singapore recently is expected to clear the legislature this session, as both the ruling and major opposition parties have expressed their support for the agreement.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said ahead of tomorrow’s legislative review that they support the agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP).

The ASTEP could play a significant role in Taiwan’s economic development, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said, expressing optimism that both parties could reach a consensus.

The pact signed on Nov. 7 is expected to add US$701 million to Taiwan’s GDP over the next 15 years, boosting local output value by NT$42.1 billion (US$1.43 billion) and creating 6,154 jobs, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Singapore is Taiwan’s fifth-largest trade partner, fourth-largest export market and eighth-largest source of imports. Last year, bilateral trade amounted to US$28.2 billion, accounting for 5 percent of the nation’s total external trade.

DPP caucus whip Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said the party has decided to support the accord, as foreign trade is the engine of Taiwan’s economic growth.

The current legislative session was originally scheduled to end late this month, but is expected to be extended to next month.

Lin also urged the Executive Yuan to submit amendments on the Customs Import Tariff Act (海關進口稅則) and Shipping Act (航業法) so lawmakers could expedite the review process.

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