Singapore and Taiwan (China) on November 7 signed an economic partnership agreement to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Both sides agreed in December 2010 to launch negotiations after respective feasibility studies and the first round of negotiations began in May 2011.

This is the first economic cooperation agreement Taiwan has signed with a Southeast Asian country, which covers such areas as trade in goods and services, investment, dispute settlement, e-commerce, government procurement and customs procedures.

Under the deal, Singapore will remove tariff lines on all products imported from Taiwan and the later will eliminate duties on 83 percent of goods imported from Singapore, while duties on other products will be lifted over a period ranging from five to 15 years.

Singapore is now Taiwan’s fifth largest trade partner and fourth largest export market while Taiwan is Singapore’s eighth largest trade partner and 10th largest export market. Bilateral trade last year totalled 23.2 billion USD.

Taiwan signed a similar economic cooperation agreement with New Zealand in early July.-VNA