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Taiwan increases Tariff-Free imports from Eswatini to 199 product lines

His Majesty King Mswati III and President Tsai Ing-wen.

By EDN Reporter

On 10th Nov 2023, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s Parliament, passed the amendments to the Customs Import Tariff Schedule, effectively increasing the number of Eswatini products granted tariff-free treatment in Taiwan from 153 product lines to 199 product lines.

Notably, Taiwan’s Parliament added 46 new items to the list of Taiwan’s tariff concessions to Eswatini under the Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. The newly added 46 product items include textile garments, nuts, molasses, brewed drinks, dried onions, vegetable juices, and many others.

The Economic Cooperation Agreement is a preferential trade agreement, signed on June 18, 2018, in Taipei between the two governments, in the presence of His Majesty and President Tsai Ing-Wen, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Eswatini said.

The Taiwan Embassy went on to say that since the agreement took effect in December 2018, the bilateral trade between Taiwan and Eswatini has grown from E142.7 million (US$7.6 million) in 2017 to E302.3 million (US$16.1 million) in 2022, representing a growth of 112 per cent. Meanwhile, Taiwanese purchase of Eswatini products has grown 33-fold to nearly E112.68 million (US$6 million) in 2022, “making Taiwan by far Eswatini’s largest export destination in Asia and one of the largest in the World, even surpassing China, Japan and India, with ethanol, citrus, sauces, cotton, and honey accounting for the largest share of Eswatini exports to Taiwan.”

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The tariff waiver for the importation of goods is a significant development in Taiwan’s trade relations and reflects the country’s efforts to strengthen economic ties with Eswatini. By waiving tariffs on these specific items, Taiwan aims to facilitate trade and promote economic cooperation with Eswatini. This move aligns with the broader strategy of Taiwan to expand its international trade relations and could potentially open up new opportunities for both countries.

Furthermore, the assurance from the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the impact of the tariff waiver on Taiwan’s agricultural sector indicates a thorough assessment of the potential consequences of this decision. It reflects the government’s commitment to balancing the benefits of trade liberalization with the protection of domestic industries.

The decrease in bilateral trade between Taiwan and Eswatini from 2021 to 2022 is an important aspect to consider. While the tariff waiver may be a step towards enhancing trade, the decrease in trade volume raises questions about the overall effectiveness of the economic cooperation agreement between the two countries. It suggests that there may be underlying factors affecting the trade dynamics that go beyond tariff barriers.

Notably, the passage of amendments to allow tariff-free importation of specific items from Eswatini demonstrates Taiwan’s proactive approach to international trade and economic cooperation. However, the decrease in bilateral trade calls for a closer examination of the factors influencing trade relations between Taiwan and Eswatini. This development highlights the complexities of international trade dynamics and the need for a comprehensive understanding of the broader economic landscape.

It is expected that the bilateral trade between Taiwan and Eswatini will grow further with more and more Eswatini products granted tariff treatment in Taiwan.

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