The U.s.-Taiwan Commercial Relationship Moving Toward A Free Trade Agreement

Nearly two decades later, this year`s recovery is mainly fueled by a broader shift in Washington`s mindset regarding U.S.-China relations, characterized by the U.S. general desire to increase its influence over China for greater “strategic competition” between the two powerful nations. Supporters now point to the economic and geopolitical benefits of a closer trade and investment relationship between the United States and Taiwan. “The economic dialogue between the United States and Taiwan means that economic relations between the United States and Taiwan are not only strong, but continue to deepen and develop,” said Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taipei, the de facto message. The two sides have signed a five-year agreement establishing the dialogue on economic prosperity between the United States and Taiwan, which is to take place annually. The agreement falls short of a long-standing bilateral trade agreement, but it is an important step that strengthens relations between Washington and Taipei. Taiwan is a relatively open economy, with appropriate standards in the often sensitive areas of work and the environment. It is also highly dependent on international trade for its economic well-being. As a result, it is likely to be a willing partner for a comprehensive, high-level TA, which could serve as a new “gold standard” for trade agreements, with strict provisions on issues such as intellectual property rights and dispute resolution mechanisms. Such an agreement could be denied to Beijing as a model that the United States wants to follow in the future.

Third, the United States should consider including a Taiwan free trade agreement in a border trade initiative. The United States could generate interest in free trade agreements and allow other economies to respond. The fact is that the United States has an interest in improving trade with all economies (regardless of) and any initiative from Taiwan should be considered in this context. Why not simultaneously launch free trade agreements and TPP discussions? Taiwan Spresident Tsai Ing-wen spoke of one of the main irritants in U.S.-Taiwan trade relations last week by relaxing rules on imports of swine meat containing the steroid ractopamine. Taiwan has unilaterally removed a technical barrier to trade that the United States has long considered a major obstacle to trade negotiations. Taiwan is part of Trump`s tough Chinese policy, marked by disputes over trade, technology exchanges and Beijing`s maritime expansion. China calls Taiwan`s self-authoritarianism his own and is angry with the United States, which is helping it politically or militarily. A trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan would be beneficial to both sides, and Taiwan has convincingly demonstrated its attachment to U.S. trade relations. It is now time for the U.S. government to begin BTA negotiations with Taiwan, demonstrating our own commitment to this important strategic partnership. Support for a BTA is also strong in Taiwan.

President Tsai has often expressed his government`s willingness to sign a trade agreement and has been a regular talking point for officials, including Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Taiwan`s new representative to the United States Hsiao Bi-khim. The BTA was also a central theme last month during the visit to Taiwan by U.S. Secretary of Health and Personnel Alex Azar. Given the global trend towards regional economic integration in recent years, countries are competing to negotiate free trade agreements. Changes in global trade relations and the restructuring of the global economy as a result of this trend have had significant consequences. In Asia, the pace of regional integration has been very rapid, and the impact on Taiwan – which relies heavily on trade with other parts of the East Asian region – has been considerable.