Cross-strait customs pact set to take effect 2013

The cross-strait customs cooperation agreement will reduce trade barriers, to the benefit of Taiwan exporters and Taiwan businesses based in mainland China.

The newly signed cross-strait customs cooperation agreement could come into force by the beginning of next year, helping reduce trade barriers and benefiting exporters and importers, Taiwan Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford said Aug. 13.

Prior to implementation of the pact, the two sides will negotiate follow-up matters, including the establishment of a contact window and communication platforms, Chang noted.

The accord was signed last week by Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation, and his mainland counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin, during their eighth formal meeting.

The customs cooperation agreement contains a dozen articles on mutual recognition of authorized economic operators and the exchange of information to curb smuggling, according to Chang.

Taiwan is currently in talks with the U.S. on mutual recognition of AEOs, with an agreement expected to be inked later this year, after which a deal will be forged with mainland China. At that time, the 137 Taiwanese enterprises and more than 1,000 mainland companies with an AA rating recognized as AEOs will enjoy more convenient customs clearance in cross-strait trade, Chang said.

The pact will also help reduce nontariff barriers, while Beijing will in the future comply with international standards, helping speed up customs clearance, decrease costs for enterprises and boost Taiwan’s exports, he noted.

Not only Taiwan exporters, but also mainland China-based Taiwan businesses will benefit from the accord, Chang added.

Furthermore, the deal will also facilitate customs clearance for goods included in the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) early harvest list of items set to have their tariff rates reduced to zero, while also promoting economic development, Chang said.

Taiwan Today