Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taiwan, Philippines ink 4 economic MOUs

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan and the Philippines signed four memoranda of understanding (MOUs) upon the conclusion of the 16th ministerial-level economic cooperation meeting between the two countries aimed at bolstering bilateral cooperation, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday. The MOUs were forged on cooperation in the fields of standardization and conformity assessment, cooperation in small- and medium-sized enterprises, cross-border information technology exchanges and cooperation in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.

During the two-day meeting, the Philippines agreed to give priority consideration to lowering import tariffs on polyester fiber from Taiwan. There is no polyester fiber processing industry in the Philippines, MOEA officials noted.

The Philippines agreed to simplify customs procedures for imports of Taiwanese goods at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, which houses several Taiwanese companies, and at the Clark Freeport Zone north of Manila, the officials noted.

It was announced during the meeting that Spirit of Manila Airlines will offer direct flight services between the Clark Freeport Zone and Taipei from March 15.

It was also announced during the meeting that ATA carnet systems will be activated June 15 between Taiwan and the Philippines to facilitate temporary imports to each other's country. The ATA carnet operations will be implemented only for cooperation in the intellectual property area, MOEA officials said.

The Philippines is Taiwan's 14th-largest trade partner, while Taiwan is the eighth-largest trade partner of the Philippines. Bilateral trade totaled US$7.03 billion in 2008.

According to tallies compiled by the MOEA's Investment Commission, Philippines investment in Taiwan totaled 252 cases worth a combined US$1.17 billion as of last December, while Taiwanese investment in the Philippines amounted to 974 cases, worth a combined US$1.84 billion as of last June.

About 75,000 Philippines nationals are currently working in Taiwan, mostly as laborers or household helpers.

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