Taiwan and South Korea have signed an agreement to prevent double taxation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, adding that the government is also seeking trade pacts with Australia and India.
The government has been promoting the deal with Seoul since 2014 and it was signed on Nov. 17, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Wallace Chow (周民淦) told a news briefing in Taipei.
The Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income was signed by the Seoul-based Taipei Mission in Korea and the Korean Mission in Taipei, the Ministry of Finance said in a news release.
It would help reduce the tax burden for people and enterprises on both sides, provide a mechanism for dispute resolution and enhance other areas of tax cooperation, the finance ministry said.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral trade revenue last year reached a new high of US$35.74 billion, Chow said, adding that Taiwan and South Korea are each other’s fifth-largest trading partners.
The two nations are also the third-largest sources of tourists for each other, he said.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, mutual visits totaled 2.45 million people, the sixth consecutive year of growth, he said.
Asked if there is any progress negotiating a Taiwan-India free-trade agreement, Chow said that the government continues to push for a deal.
If an agreement can be signed, both sides would benefit from a reduction in non-tariff barriers, he said.
Taiwan and India would complement each other with their trade and investment structures, while India imports from Taiwan a lot of material and components to assemble products, he said.
Taiwan can help India upgrade its manufacturing and tech industries, and boost its product positions in global value chains, Chow said, adding that many Taiwanese high-tech firms are considering expanding their investments in India.
Meanwhile, the government hopes to sign an economic cooperation agreement with Australia, Chow said in response to media queries.
The Taiwan-Australia trade volume has been growing 10 percent annually for the past five years, reaching A$14.7 billion (US$10.49 billion) last year, while both sides work close together on trade, clean energy, technology, cybersecurity, culture, education and biotechnology, he said.
In the post-pandemic era, many countries are rebuilding resilient supply chains based on shared values, Chow said, adding that Taiwan and Australia are reliable partners.
Taiwan is Australia’s 10th-largest trade partner and one of Canberra’s few main partners that have not signed a bilateral trade agreement with it, Chow said.
With support from Australian lawmakers, trade groups and friends in other sectors, the government is seeking to start negotiations over an economic cooperation agreement with Canberra, as well as seek its support for Taiwan to join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said.
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