Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Taiwan Moves to Increase Export Trade Pleases Freight Forwarding Groups

Local Politicians Have Fear of Exclusion from Trade Agreements
Shipping News Feature

TAIWAN – As an avid watcher of ASEAN group affairs, moves are afoot to ensure the island stays abreast of its partners and competitors with regards to exports both within, and beyond, the local region. The recent decision to allow the country’s freight forwarders to operate multi-destination export consolidations has met with widespread approval. The move means that ROC consolidators can group cargoes bound for several countries within one container enabling the transhipment and re-export of consignments to multiple countries overseas producing the resultant savings.

The change was praised by one of the country’s international freight service and logistics groups, U-Freight Taiwan Ltd., which Hong Kong Headquarters will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and will host the U-Freight Group's annual global sales conference in Taipei later this month, with CEO, Simon Wong commenting:

“The new law will make Taiwan one of the most competitive logistics hub in the world. Consolidating goods in Taiwan and re-exporting them to Europe and America should increase efficiency and reduce costs. It is perfect timing for us, and delegates at our forthcoming conference will certainly be looking at how we can capitalise on this opportunity."

Last August the country approved plans for eight Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) with the intent of boosting exports and tempting producers and suppliers from other countries, particularly near economic neighbours, to have a presence in Taiwan. The preferential atmosphere within the zones are aimed specifically at industries seen as offering premium economic returns such as food production and the biotech sector.

Approval of the zones has not materialised as parliament ran out of time before the end of the last session last month when all attention was turned to discussing the horrific gas explosions in Kaohsiung on July 31 which killed 30 and injured hundreds more. Local politicians have expressed concern that more needs to be done in the light of any formal connection with the ongoing discussions around a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Some local politicians fear that negating to fully sign up to what may well be two of the biggest trade agreements in the world, with the associated predicted benefits of lower tariffs and expanded market access, would leave the island once known as Formosa, behind the game in terms of overseas trade, not a position the Republic of China would want to find itself in.