Amadeusz Juskowiak

Taiwan plans new tariff cuts

Taiwan plans another round of deep tariff cuts this year to help narrow its trade surplus with the US A senior economic planner said

Wang ChaoMing vicechairman of the council for economic planning and development told Reuters Taiwan would further reduce import tariffs on 1700 products sometime in the second half of this year

Cuts of up to 50 pct on those items were made last year and Wang said further cuts would go much deeper

We have to speed up liberalisation and cut import tariffs faster and more substantially he said

The United States Taiwans main trading partner has said the islands import tariffs still ranging from a high of almost 60 pct were unacceptable It has criticised the cuts as too selective

Taiwans trade surplus with the United States hit 136 billion dlrs last year The surplus has boosted foreign exchange reserves to 50 billion dlrs which Wang said made Taiwan a target for US Protectionism

Wang said the trade surplus and the reserves weakened Taiwans position in talks with Washington over export quotas particularly for shoes textiles and machine tools which are among the islands main exportearners

A special Taiwanese trade delegation leaves for Washington tomorrow to try to renegotiate an agreement signed last year limiting exports of Taiwan textiles

Under the accord Taiwans textile export growth was limited to 05 pct each year until 1988 Taipei has said it is losing markets to South Korea and Hong Kong which were given more generous terms