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US-Taiwan

The discussion around a possible bilateral free trade agreement between Taiwan and the US has been drawn out for years, with Taiwan requesting and the US acting lukewarm toward the idea.

At stake in any kind of bilateral trade or investment deal here is, first and foremost, the political standing of Taiwan vis-a-vis China and the rest of world. An FTA with Washington would amount to US recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence from China. This goes against Chinese policy and could trigger military action. The US adheres to Beijing’s "one China" policy while it maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan.

The economics of a potential deal are another story. Taiwan is the US’ eighth largest trading partner, and sixth largest importer of US agricultural goods, and wants its own terms of access to US markets. But the US insists that the actual benefits of an FTA for Taiwan would not be important, even though Washington constantly pressures Taiwan to improve its policies on electronic commerce, government procurement, intellectual property, food safety and US beef for the benefit of American corporations.

In the meantime, the two governments, through their respective proxy agencies, signed a sort of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 1994 and conduct discussions through the TIFA Council.

last update: May 2012


Taiwan trade deal on Trump administration’s radar, lawmaker says
A group of Republican lawmakers seeking to counter national security and economic threats from China is calling for the United States to open trade talks with Taiwan.
Coalition formed to facilitate US-Taiwan BTA talks
Business groups in Taiwan and the United States have formed a coalition to facilitate negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement, its founding members said.
Taiwan opposition pushes pork referendum, could threaten US trade deal
Taiwan’s main opposition party began a push for a referendum to block the easing of restrictions on US pork imports, which if passed could threaten a long-mooted free trade deal with the US.
US to launch new annual economic dialogue with Taiwan
The United States will hold a new annual senior-level economic dialogue with Taiwan to strengthen bilateral economic ties, after Taiwan pledged last week it would open its market to previously banned categories of American pork and beef.
Pig farmers protest government move to ease imported pork restrictions
Some 200 pig farmers and workers staged a protest in front of the Yunlin County government building to oppose the central government’s decision to allow imports of US pork containing the controversial veterinary drug ractopamine.
Taiwan paves way for US trade deal by easing pork, beef imports
Taiwan paved the way for an eventual free trade deal with the United States by announcing an easing of restrictions on the import of US beef and pork.
Taiwan to seek closer security ties, trade agreement with US: Tsai
Taiwan will continue to work closely with the United States with the focus on establishing a constructive security relationship and beginning negotiations on a free trade agreement, said President Tsai Ing-wen.
USDA to send trade mission in April
The US has long criticized Taiwan’s zero-tolerance policy regarding meat product imports and views Taiwan’s ractopamine ban as a trade barrier.
Taiwan wants to sign free trade deal with US: foreign minister
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made a recorded video for a conference organized by a Washington-based research institute on Sept. 12.
TIFA talks unlikely this year: minister
Even if vacant posts in Washington are filled and quickly approved, it would take time to process the appointments, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng said.