Skip to main content

ROC-New Zealand economic cooperation agreement continues to receive international media coverage

  • Release Department:MainDepartment
  • Data Source:Department of NGO International Affairs
  • 聯絡人:管理者

Background Information No. 081

On July 10, 2013, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and New Zealand signed the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation. The pact has continued to receive coverage from such international media outlets as the UK’s Financial Times, Singapore’s The Straits Times, Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, The Australian Financial Review, and The New Zealand Herald. In their reports, they pointed out that this first-ever free trade agreement (FTA) signed by the ROC with a developed country was a major economic and trade achievement for its government, highlighting the ROC’s commitment to participating in the regional economic integration framework.

The Financial Times noted that the economic cooperation agreement (ECA) with New Zealand marked a “major victory” for the ROC, which has often encountered difficulties when seeking participation in international forums. It also reported that President Ma Ying-jeou declared that he “ultimately wants Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

According to The Straits Times, the agreement was “a big step” in the ROC’s effort toward integration into regional free trade areas. The Singaporean daily quoted President Ma as saying that the pact signals “Taiwan’s determination to pursue free trade,” and that with its signing, “the world will see and trust Taiwan’s commitment to free trade.” It further observed that the ROC is also actively seeking free trade agreements with India, Malaysia, and the United States.

Nihon Keizai Shimbun suggested that the ROC government would, after forging the ECA with New Zealand, make follow-up efforts to negotiate FTAs with Japan, the United States, and Southeast Asian nations, as well as seek to participate in the TPP. It quoted statements by the ROC’s Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch that FTA talks between the ROC and Singapore are in the final stage and that the ROC-New Zealand pact was a result of improved relations across the Taiwan Strait.

In a report on the agreement, The Australian Financial Review concluded that “it represents a big achievement for Taiwan as it is the first economic agreement for it with a member of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. NZ companies could take advantage of Taiwan’s ties to China to use it as a base for mainland China business.”

The New Zealand Herald cited a statement from New Zealand’s Minister of Trade Tim Groser that the agreement would further strengthen bilateral economic and trade cooperation and “enhance New Zealand’s growth prospects through vastly improved links with a major Asian economy.” He pointed out that this was the first time a chapter on indigenous cooperation was included in a New Zealand trade pact and that it would contribute to bilateral cultural and economic exchanges and cooperation. (E)