Taiwan, New Zealand enter second phase of ECA study
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostThe China Post--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday that Taiwan and New Zealand will soon move into the second phase of a joint feasibility study on signing a bilateral economic cooperation agreement (ECA), a move that could mean another step closer for the country's ultimate inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
December 16, 2011, 12:18 am TWN
Taipei and Wellington previously announced on Oct. 25 that they had agreed to conduct a joint study into an ECA. After a month of study conducted by both sides in October, both reached the same conclusion that the eventual signing of such trade pact will be mutually beneficial.
Therefore, both sides agreed to move into the second phase of the study, the MOFA said in a released statement.
The phase two joint study will be launched soon after representatives of both sides have finished all related discussions, the statement said.
The MOFA said the economies of two countries are complementary. Therefore, it hopes the study could be completed soon and that both sides will be moving into concrete negotiations as soon as possible.
When asked to comment, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said he welcomed the joint announcement, adding that he expects the proposed ECA to usher in a new era of bilateral cooperation in various fronts.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, trade between the two nations reached US$1.08 billion last year, up 43.19 percent from 2009.
Taiwan exports mainly industrial products to New Zealand, with imports from that country dominated by meat, milk powder and fruit.
Local government is currently undergoing negotiations on an economic partnership agreement with Singapore.
Since both Singapore and New Zealand are founding members of the TPP, signing a trade agreement with the two countries will give a huge boost to Taiwan's bid to join the multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalize the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.