TAITRA, Malaysia sign landmark carnet agreement

Yingrid Ho, TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post

After ten years of negotiation, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) signed a temporary admissions carnet agreement with a private Malaysian entity yesterday. The talks started in 1994. Because the agreement requires cooperation of customs from both sides, it took longer than expected for the Malaysian customs to consent to the commitment, TAITRA President Chao Yuen-chuan said. A temporary admissions carnet is a pass designed to simplify and streamline customs entry procedures for merchandise, whether accompanied or not, into participating countries for up to one year. From now on, product samples, equipment or machinery entering the Malaysian customs with a guarantee given by the TAITRA are exempted from tariffs or excise taxes. According to the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOF) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan has inked similar documents with some 30 countries, including the U.S., EU, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Customs’ statistics show that in 2003, there were 1,477 carnet goods entered into Taiwan, valued at US$204 million. The number of out-bound cases reported local companies was 99, worth at US$4.9 million. “Most people used the carnet system for trade shows,” BOF said. Accompanied by a team of officials, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz arrived for the event.

Malaysia is rich in natural resources, skilled workers, beautiful landscapes and offers many business opportunities for entrepreneurs, Aziz said.

“Taiwan was ranked the ninth place in the world last year in terms of investment volumes in Malaysia, and our government welcomes Taiwanese business people to consult us for trade incentives and privileges we offer.”

Furthermore, the free flow of goods among ASEAN countries by the year of 2020 has lured many multinational corporations into the country, which also promises political stability and stable economic growth for businesspeople, she added.

Taiwan’s government has been seeking alternative markets for local investors other than the mainland. A Taiwan investor said he always felt it’s more secure to invest in Malaysia, and the “five-hour travel by plane is no different to going to Beijing or Shanghai.”

It is understood that there are over 20 Taiwan companies listing their shares on the Malaysian stock market.