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Taiwanese-Singapore trade pact near final stage: officials

TAIPEI--Talks on a Taiwan-Singapore free trade agreement “have nearly concluded” and are expected to yield a result in the first half of 2013, Taiwanese officials said yesterday.

Discussions on the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP), which began in May 2011, are heading into the final stretch, said Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho.

Most chapters of the deal have already been completed, with only some details remaining to be resolved, said Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin, who added that he hopes the agreement can be concluded by June.

The officials were responding to questions from ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang on how Taiwan will respond to the various regional trade agreements signed between neighboring countries, such as a free trade pact being discussed by China, Japan and South Korea.

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