Removed or reduced tariffs for allies

A pact with Belize has opened possible bridges between Asia and the Caribbean, while Honduras and Paraguay also benefit from significant tariff reductions

A bill to lower import tariffs to zero on 234 items for three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies – Belize, Honduras and Paraguay – was passed by the Legislative Yuan yesterday and is expected to expand economic and trade flows.

The amendment to the import tariff lowers tariffs either immediately or gradually, in accordance with the economic and trade cooperation agreements signed by Taiwan and the three allied countries.

Taiwan must lower tariffs on 199 items imported from Belize, including fish, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, juices, wood products and cocoa products, while reducing tariffs on 25 items imported from Honduras, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

In addition, 10 items imported from Paraguay, including sugar and rice products, will benefit from duty-free status.

Yesterday, the Legislative Yuan also unanimously ratified an economic cooperation agreement signed with Belize in September last year.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yui said the deal is expected to create a win-win situation for Taiwan and Belize through reciprocal economic and trade exchanges.

Yui said the terms of the deal provide for the Caribbean ally to grant preferential tariff status to 33 Taiwanese exports, including starch-related products, bicycle tires, textiles, steel, hand tools, machine tools, automotive and motorcycle components and water sports equipment.

Taiwanese companies are expected to use Belize as a stepping stone to enter the Caribbean trading bloc, while the country will use Taiwan as a gateway to the Asian market, Yui said.

In addition, Belize has signed trade agreements with the EU, Canada and Colombia, while the Caribbean country has been granted preferential trade status by the United States, Canada and Japan, said Yui.

As Taiwan and Belize accelerate the recovery of their economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the deal is expected to help countries strengthen their friendship and economic ties, he said.

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