Taiwan and Singapore signed an economic cooperation agreement today in Singapore, removing much of trade tariffs between the two nations. A press conference is to be held shortly after the signing in Taipei. Negotiations first began in December 2010, followed by studies conducted by both sides on the benefits of such agreement. The agreement is officially between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, the name used by Taiwan in the World Trade Organization, as Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and is careful to not to appear to recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan. The full title of the agreement is the “Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Partnership 新加坡與臺、澎、金、馬個別關稅領域經濟合作協定” (ASTEP 臺星經濟合作協定). Visit the website of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs 經濟部 or International Enterprise Singapore to see the actual text of the agreement.
Earlier this year Taiwan signed a similar agreement with New Zealand (ANZTEC 臺紐經濟合作協定). Singapore is Taiwan’s 5th largest trade partner and 4th largest export market. Singapore maintains Singapore Trade Office in Taipei 新加坡駐台北商務辦事處 to represent its interests in Taiwan. Citizens of the two nations can visit the other nation without a visa and stay up to 30 days. There are multiple airlines operating flights between Taiwan and Singapore.