Taiwan and Belize yesterday inked an economic cooperation agreement (ECA), aiming to reduce tariffs, expedite bilateral trade, encourage mutual investment and foster technical cooperation.
The “mutually beneficial” agreement would take effect after it is approved by the countries’ legislative bodies, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a press release.
Taiwan and Belize started talks on an ECA last year, and are to form a committee to manage its execution once the proposal is passed into law, the ministry said.
“Both sides are committed to lowering tariffs on various products, which should encourage more trade between Taiwan and Belize. Taiwanese businesses can increase their sales of industrial products to Belize, while Taiwanese consumers can enjoy a range of farm products from Belize,” it said.
Belize’s status as a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) makes products made there more competitive in the EU, it added.
CARICOM has a free-trade agreement with the EU. Some categories of goods made in Belize also enjoy favorable tariffs in the US and Japan, it said.
“Taiwan and Belize have highly complementary industrial profiles. Signing the agreement creates a win-win situation and helps to consolidate the friendship between Taiwan and Belize,” the ministry said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) signed the document in Taiwan, while Belizean Minister of State for Investment, Trade and Commerce Tracy Panton signed the document in Belize.
Two-way trade between Taiwan and Belize reached US$7.51 million last year, ministry data showed.
Taiwan has US$70.51 million in investments in Belize, mainly in the financial, manufacturing and retail sectors, the ministry said.
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