By 2020, these two agreements are expected to bring Taiwan closer to joining not only the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), but also the TPP. TPP membership is a goal expressed by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who will bring former Taiwanese Vice President Vincent Siew to the United States with an 18-member delegation at the end of this week. This agreement will not only allow Taiwanese companies to access Singapore`s small but increasingly prosperous consumers, but will also allow Singaporean service providers to complement Taiwanese industry. However, for Taipei, the agreement has a more strategic impact than the resumption of recent export growth. According to analysts, China`s clear acceptance of the Taiwanese-New Zealand free trade agreement is seen as an entry into improving relations between the two neighbors. The signing of the pact was concluded by webcast, which allowed Taiwanese ministers to “participate” in the agreement without entering New Zealand. After more than two years of negotiations, Singapore and Taiwan concluded the free trade agreement last week. Exports account for two-thirds of Taiwan`s GDP and, with China and Hong Kong accounting for about 40%, the Singapore agreement is expected to help Taiwan reduce its dependence on the Chinese market. Under the agreement, Singapore will immediately remove tariffs on all products imported from Taiwan. For Taiwan, the first such agreement with a Southeast Asian country and a major trading partner is asTEP (agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership).

Taiwan signaled its growing shift on the world diplomatic stage by concluding a free trade pact with Singapore, a move tacitly backed by Beijing. But while Taiwan`s Deal on Thursday marked the largest trade deal to date with a country that has diplomatic relations with China, Taipei announced even greater ambitions. Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang welcomed the signing of astep: “ASTEP is a quality and comprehensive agreement that will strengthen economic relations between Singapore and Chinese Taipei, both members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Companies on both sides are already actively pursuing business opportunities in the economies of the other. The agreement will continue to improve and deepen trade and investment flows between the two sides. Electrical machinery and appliances account for about two-thirds of trade between the two Asian countries, making the relationship less complementary than other agreements such as the Singapore Pact with the Australian commodity exporter. . . .