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Duty cuts under ECFA save Taiwanese companies 225 mln USD

TAIPEI, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Tariff cuts under an economic pact between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have saved Taiwanese companies about 225 million U.S. dollars from 2011 to March 2012, statistics released on Tuesday show.

About 102 million U.S. dollars worth of duty cuts, an equivalent of 83 percent of the 2011 total were recorded in the first quarter of 2012, as more Taiwan goods were entitled to zero tariff from this year under the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), according to a press release from Taiwanese authorities in charge of economic affairs.

Some industrial and agricultural products sold to the mainland have witnessed a tremendous increase from January to March this year, in comparison with the first quarter of 2011. Among them, lorry wheels and parts increased nearly 80 times, while frozen Pacific saury saw an increase of 81 fold.

More Taiwanese business people have applied for ECFA-related business qualifications, according to the press release.

In the first quarter of 2012, more than 3,300 companies, compared with about 1,100 companies in the same period last year, obtained ECFA-related business qualifications. More than half of them had no business history with the mainland, it reads.

Authorities have credited the ECFA with its role in expanding the market share of Taiwanese goods on the Chinese mainland. Under the ECFA "early harvest program," more than 500 Taiwanese goods sold to the mainland will enjoy zero tariff.

By the end of March 2012, 257 Taiwanese goods under the program have had a market share of over 10 percent on the mainland, among them, 199 have had a market share of over 15 percent, according to the press release.

The ECFA has helped Taiwan attract more foreign investment and more Taiwanese entrepreneurs are coming home to invest, it notes.

Another effect that the ECFA has is on the labor market, as shown by the growth rate of jobs in sectors related to the "early harvest program" is stronger than the island's average job growth rate in the manufacturing business, according to the press release.