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Panamanian sugar to be imported duty-free

TAIPEI -- The Legislature passed a resolution yesterday allowing Panamanian sucrose, the form of sugar that is obtained from sugar cane, to be imported into Taiwan duty-free.

The resolution stipulated that sucrose produced in Taiwan's diplomatic ally Panama can be imported exempt from duties up to a certain volume based on a quota system.

The resolution was adopted based on a Ministry of Economic Affairs proposal suggesting that Panamanian sucrose be allowed to be imported duty-free as an incentive to encourage Panamanian traders to get involved in the business.

Panama does not currently export sucrose to Taiwan even though the two countries concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) in August 2003 that went effect on Jan. 1, 2004.

Under that pact, Panamanian sucrose imported to Taiwan is subject to an import duty assessed on goods from countries with Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, which officials described as a “hidden disservice” to two-way trade.

During an official visit to Panama City by Vice President Vincent Siew in May, Deputy Economics Minister Francis Liang, who was part of Siew's delegation, reached a deal with the Panamanian government to exempt Panamanian sucrose from duties to boost two-way trade.

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