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Mainland, Taiwan reduce import tariffs
Date:2011/1/4      View:1073
The Chinese mainland and Taiwan Saturday moved the first step in furthering their economic ties by implementing the "early harvest program" of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Under the program, the Chinese mainland reduces tariffs on 539 Taiwanese goods while Taiwan drops the duties on 267 mainland goods.

Within two years, the duties on those products will be eventually reduced to zero, a move to put Taiwan in a favorable position when competing with imports from Japan or the Republic of Korea in the mainland market, experts say.

Chinese mainland customs in Xiamen city of eastern Fujian province gave the green light on Saturday to the first group of commodities imported from Taiwan under the cross-Strait tariff-reduction trade pact.

The duty of the merchandise - 4.08 tonnes of Taiwan fruits worth $2,920 with a Certificate of Origin (CO) issued by commerce officials in Taiwan's Kinmen county - was reduced from 11 or 12 percent to five percent in line with the early harvest program.

Taiwan exported to the mainland fruits worth $9.74 million in the first 11 months of 2010, a 129.5 percent increase year on year, according to Taiwan's trade association statistics.

Customs in Taiwan's Kaohsiung has accepted export applications to the mainland for Taiwan-raised live rockfish, which will be shipped to Fujian on Sunday.

The output of Taiwan's live rockfish made up about 58 percent of the world's total, and its exports to the mainland will enjoy 5.5-percent tax reduction in 2011 and zero tax by 2012.

Also on Saturday, the first batch of the mainland's exports to Taiwan under the trade deal - 22.6 tonnes of joss sticks for Buddhist worship that are worth $17,328 - were inspected and permitted through at Xiamen Customs. Their tariff in Taiwan was reduced from five percent to 2.5 percent, as called for in the ECFA.

To speed up the procedures, Xiamen Customs opened special ECFA counters to give priority to commodities listed in the cross-Strait trade pact.

Also, the General Administration of Customs has ordered local customs to provide ease of movement to products listed in the ECFA agreement, including agricultural and mechanical products, chemicals, electronics, auto parts, textiles, medicine and other sorts of products.

Meanwhile, the Chinese mainland allows Taiwan companies to enter 11 service sectors such as accounting, hospital, banking and securities, while Taiwan opens nine of its services sectors to mainland firms.
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