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