Hopes of increased investments between Taiwan and Belize have risen as both countries have reached three separate agreements to promote and strengthen their diplomatic ties through bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, legal assistance and aviation.
According to focustaiwan.tw, the pacts were signed Sept. 26-30 by representatives of the two governments, according to a press release issued by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday.
The economic cooperation agreement, signed Wednesday by Taiwan Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua and Belize Minister of State Tracy Taegar-Panton, aims to reduce tariffs, facilitate trade, promote investment, and advance technical cooperation, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said.
“Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Belize,” the MOEA said. “In order to continue deepening bilateral relations, both sides began consultations and successfully completed the signing through the efforts of our two governments.”
Trade between the two countries totaled US$7.51 million in 2019, while Taiwan investments in Belize have now reached US$70.51 million in the areas of finance, manufacturing and retail/wholesale, according to data from Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.
The bureau said the new bilateral economic agreement will help create mutual benefits, allowing Taiwanese manufacturers to increase the export and sale of industrial products to Belize, while giving Taiwanese consumers a wider choice of agricultural products from the Caribbean country.
Meanwhile, a treaty on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters was also reached between Taiwan and Belize this week, with Justice Minister Tsai Ching-hsiang and Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington signing the agreement in Taipei and Belize City on Sept. 26 and Sept. 28, respectively.
According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the pact will serve as the legal framework for more effective collaboration on criminal investigations, prosecutions, court proceedings and crime prevention.
“Under the new accord, defendants and witnesses can give statements via videoconferencing, with the relevant authorities asking questions during the process,” the MOJ said. “This will enable the two sides to work as a joint investigative team to combat transnational crime.”
The treaty was the seventh of its kind signed by Taiwan, following agreements with the United States, China, the Philippines, South Africa, Poland and Nauru. It was also the second cooperative legal arrangement between Taiwan and Belize after anti-corruption pact that was signed July 2, 2019.
On Wednesday, Taiwan and Belize also signed an open skies agreement that will allow designated airlines on both sides to operate unlimited passenger and cargo flights between the two countries via any intermediate points and to extend their flights to any onward destinations, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.
In the future, designated airlines in the two countries will also be able to provide scheduled air services and cooperate with each other through code-sharing, the ministry said.