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May 27, 2017

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MOEA downplays the S. Korea-Canada FTA

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday that a new free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and Canada will have little direct impact on Taiwan.

An economics official said Taiwan mainly exports information and communications products, electrical equipment, steel, machinery and plastic products to Canada, and not automobiles or home appliances, which are the major South Korean exports to that country.

As Taiwan's exports to Canada do not overlap much with those of South Korea, the direct impact will be limited, the official said.

What is more worrying, however, is the speed at which South Korea is signing FTAs with other countries, the official said.

According to media reports Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a summit in Seoul that day to wrap up their bilateral FTA negotiations. The FTA is widely expected to take effect in 2015 after each side has dealt with their procedures for ratification.

Canada currently imposes a 6.1 percent tariff on imported vehicles.

Once the FTA takes effect, it will gradually lower the tariff until it is cut to the zero two years after the agreement has taken effect.

Auto parts and components, refrigerators and washing machines will either have their tariffs scrapped as soon as the agreement takes effect or scrapped within three years of its taking effect.

According to statistics of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Canada totaled US$3.9 billion in 2013. Canada is Taiwan's 26th-largest trade partner, while Taiwan is Canada's 10th-largest trade partner.

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