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Legislative committee backs bill on tariff-free treatment for allies

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Legislative committee backs bill on tariff-free treatment for allies

Taipei, Oct. 13 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan's Finance Committee on Wednesday approved an amendment aimed at providing tariff-free treatment for 234 products imported from three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies: Belize, Honduras and Paraguay.

The proposed amendment to the Customs Import Tariff, submitted by the Cabinet in August, will now go to the full legislative floor to be reviewed and voted on.

The bill aims to allow the import duty-free of 199 products from Belize, 25 items from Honduras and 10 products from Paraguay, to be instituted either on a designated date or over three years, according to a Ministry of Finance (MOF) statement in August.

Most of the items to be made exempt from import duties are agricultural products, such as beef, pork, fruit and cashews, according to the MOF.

If enacted, the amendments would bring Taiwan's tariff rules in line with a trade deal that Taiwan inked with Belize in September 2020, the MOF said.

According to the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Taiwan and Belize signed an Economic Cooperation Agreement in September 2020, but it has not yet been ratified by Taiwan's Legislature.

The scrapping of tariffs on products imported from Honduras and Paraguay would also be beneficial because it would expand bilateral trade cooperation and help consolidate Taiwan's diplomatic relations with the two Latin American allies, the MOF said in the statement.

The committee also approved proposed amendments to the Customs Act on Wednesday, including those intended to reinforce the monitoring of goods in transit by the Customs Administration and the management of import and export warehouses.

While lawmakers also considered other amendments aimed at increasing penalties for violations of customs law by private companies, they were unable to reach a consensus.

Those proposals were then set aside for cross-party negotiations, which do not have a time limit.

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