The legislature yesterday ratified the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP).
The agreement is to take effect 30 days after Taiwan and Singapore notify the each other of the completion of domestic legal procedures necessitated by the agreement.
The government still needs to pass related amendments to the Customs Import Tariff Act (海關進口稅則) and Shipping Act (航業法) before it can make the required revisions to domestic laws to implement the ASTEP, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said.
Wang said the legislature will prioritize the review of related amendments once the bills have been sent to the legislature by the Executive Yuan.
The pact is expected to take effect in February or March next year as the legislative session is scheduled to end on Jan. 14.
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) yesterday said the agreement is expected to increase domestic production value by NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) and create 6,000 jobs.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said the agreement is an important milestone and called on the legislature to work with the government to hasten the passage of related amendments to boost efforts to sign more trade pacts to avoid marginalization in the international community.
Under the agreement, Singapore is to remove all tariffs on goods from Taiwan, including on six types of alcoholic beverages not covered by Singapore’s tariff reduction commitments under the WTO.
Taiwan is to eliminate tariffs on 83 percent of Singaporean imports and gradually make 99.48 percent of products from the city-state tariff-free, officials said.
Taiwan is to maintain import tariffs on 40 agricultural products, including rice, garlic, dried mushrooms, red beans, pineapples, mangoes, coconuts and unshelled peanuts.
Additional reporting by CNA
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
HASTY PLAN: Instructors must teach in a language they are not fluent in, while students are forced to learn new subjects in a tongue they do not know, teachers said The National Federation of Teachers Unions (NFTU) yesterday urged the government to thoroughly review its Bilingual 2030 policy, saying it has caused problems in elementary and high schools, and might affect the quality of education in other subjects. The government on March 28 changed its original “Bilingual Nation 2030” plan to the “Bilingual 2030” plan, no longer aiming to turn Taiwan into a Mandarin-English bilingual nation by 2030, NFTU president Hou Chun-liang (侯俊良) told a news conference in Taipei. Despite the change, the policy’s budget, resources and most of its content remain the same, causing unusual scenes on campuses, he said. Cheng Chi-yi
‘STILL RISKY’: The quarantine requirement for arrivals cannot be lifted, as COVID-19 cases have been rising in Europe and the US, the minister of health and welfare said The government might consider dropping a negative COVID-19 test result requirement for travelers from low-risk countries, but lifting the quarantine requirement for inbound travelers is still risky, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The CECC on Monday said it does not plan to further loosen border controls soon. National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said the “3+4” quarantine policy separates inbound travelers from family members for only three days, which is not enough to block the spread of the virus, so the government might consider changing it to a “0+7” policy. He also said that it might
Taiwanese singer Miu Chu (朱俐靜) passed away over the weekend after a battle with breast cancer, her family announced yesterday. She was 40 years old. The family wrote on Chu’s Facebook fan page that she died peacefully. “Thank you all for your concern. Miu, who was always full of laughter and always brought people positive energy with her music, left us peacefully on July 3,” the family said. The family asked for privacy at this time and said that details of a memorial service would be announced later. Chu was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. She was an alumna of the TV reality show