Honduran president-elect Xiomara Castro had threatened to cut ties with Taiwan. Photo: Reuters
Honduran president-elect Xiomara Castro had threatened to cut ties with Taiwan. Photo: Reuters
Taiwan

Taiwan cuts tariffs to keep Honduras on its diplomatic side

  • Incoming Honduran president had threatened to sever ties with the island but her team has since backtracked
  • The Central American country is Taiwan’s biggest source of imported frozen prawns

Topic |   Taiwan
Honduran president-elect Xiomara Castro had threatened to cut ties with Taiwan. Photo: Reuters
Honduran president-elect Xiomara Castro had threatened to cut ties with Taiwan. Photo: Reuters

Taiwan on Friday cut to zero tariffs on 25 goods imported from Honduras under a free-trade agreement, offering an incentive ahead of this month’s inauguration of a new president who had threatened to break off diplomatic ties with Taipei.

Honduras is one of only 14 countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

Prior to winning November’s presidential election, Xiomara Castro of the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre) said that if victorious, she would open diplomatic ties with Beijing. But her team has since backtracked on that stance.

Taiwan’s economy ministry said the import tariff cut on agricultural goods ranging from avocados to yoghurt and pork bellies, originally agreed in 2019, had come into effect after completing relevant legal procedures.

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The two have had a free trade agreement since 2007.

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The ministry said that since then, bilateral trade had grown from US$65.95 million to US$148 million in 2021, with Honduras being Taiwan’s biggest source of imported frozen prawns.

“It is hoped that Taiwanese companies can make good use of the FTA niche to continue to deepen cooperation and open up more industrial cooperation and trade opportunities,” the ministry said.

Castro will be inaugurated as president on January 27.

Taiwan’s presidential office said on Friday it would make an announcement “in due course” on who would attend.

Beijing has been stepping up pressure to win over Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies, last month re-establishing ties with Nicaragua