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June 23, 2017

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Taiwan-Czech double taxation deal reaches final stage: envoy

TAIPEI -- A double taxation avoidance agreement between the Czech Republic and Taiwan is in the final stages of negotiations, according to a Czech Republic diplomat.

The two sides are trying to finalize the accord "as quickly as possible," said Juraj Koudelka, head of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

The agreement will serve as an incentive for investment and expand bilateral trade because it will help reduce costs, said Koudelka, his country's de facto ambassador to Taiwan.

"We're now in the final stage of negotiations, and we'll both do our best to achieve this agreement," he told CNA in an interview, but declined to give a deadline.

Taiwan is one of the Czech Republic's major trading partners, Koudelka said, adding that once the deal is signed and takes effect, bilateral trade can be expected to improve even more.

Since 1981, Taiwan has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with 25 countries, including Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

The Czech Republic and Taiwan have maintained strong trade links, with Czech exports to Taiwan in 2012 totaling US$160 million, or 12 percent of the total US$1.35 billion, according to Koudelka.

The representative said that since he took up his post in 2010, he has seen an increase in the number of Skoda cars on the streets of Taiwan, and more Czech products such as beers, crystal and cosmetics are now on the Taiwan market.

However, there is room for greater cooperation between Taiwan and the Czech Republic, not only in manufacturing but also in research and development, Koudelka said.

The two countries can work together in wide-ranging areas such as the machinery, automobile and electric engineering industries, biotechnology, clean energy, and information and communication technologies, he said.

He declined, however, to "pick winners," saying that all industries will find their way when the time is right.

A biennial Czech-Taiwan meeting, scheduled for later this year, will serve as a great platform for businesses on both sides to seek further collaboration, Koudelka said.

In addition to its efforts on the economic front, the Czech Office in Taipei will hold activities later this year to celebrate its 20th anniversary of independence and the 130th anniversary of the birth of the famous Czech writer Franz Kafka, according to Koudelka.

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