The Central American country was the main beneficiary of a free trade deal, but it ended the deal in a disrespectful way, the government said
Yang Chenyu, Liu Zixuan / With staff reporters and staff writers
Lawmakers yesterday formally ended the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and Nicaragua in a vote in the Legislative Yuan.
The Executive Yuan will submit the decision to President Tsai Ing-wen for promulgation.
Nicaragua cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing on December 10 last year. Five days later, the Nicaraguan parliament voided her FTA by ignoring the required 180-day grace period, the foreign ministry said in a report.
Photo: Screen grab from the Legislative Yuan live stream
The report said the unilateral action was highly disrespectful to Taiwan and constituted a “serious breach of obligations” under international treaty law.
To complete legal procedures for termination, Taiwan’s WTO delegation forwarded a document signed by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu in March to the Nicaraguan delegation to the WTO and WTO Secretariat, the ministry said. said.
The ministry added that the handling of the issue has cemented Taiwan’s image as a country that fulfills its obligations and abides by international norms.
Nicaragua said it ignored international norms and deliberately cooperated with China to suppress Taiwan.
After the FTA took effect in 2008, trade between Taiwan and Nicaragua increased, reaching $160 million last year, double that of 2007.
Nicaragua’s exports to Taiwan increased eight-fold during the period, making it a major beneficiary of the FTA, it said.
Exports to Nicaragua account for 0.02% of Taiwan’s total exports, and imports from Nicaragua such as frozen shrimp, frozen beef, sugar cane and coffee can be sourced from other countries, the ministry said.
The termination of the FTA will have limited impact on Taiwan, he added.
The two-way trade volume from January to last month was $123.74 million, down 15.3% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Taiwan has invested US$415.02 million in Nicaragua and the Central American country has invested US$30,000 in Taiwan, he said, adding that investors from both sides would not be affected by the termination.
To help companies adapt to this change, the Treasury Department granted preferential tariff status to companies in January.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has asked the Taiwan Foreign Trade Development Council to hold a business matchmaking meeting to help enterprises expand their market.
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