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
The U.S. Defense Department’s approval of a new arms package to Taiwan on Wednesday was the best new year’s gift that President Ma Ying-jeou could ask for
Taiwan’s legislative Yuan Tuesday banned the sale of US beef to that island country, a move that infuriated US beef exporters and could lead to trade disputes with the United States.
In a reversal of a negotiated deal with Washington, Taiwanese lawmakers on Tuesday banned imports of some kinds of beefs from the United States, citing health concerns.
Health concerns and angry protests have prompted partial bans on US beef imports in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea – most recently by Taipei on Tuesday. The recurring dispute has strained relations.
Washington should refrain from pretending that the BSE concerns are a "false issue" or using the TIFA talks or defensive arms sales to pressure the Taiwan legislature to accept a secret protocol, whose full content remains unknown even to KMT lawmakers.
Because of the proposed ban, Taiwan’s minister of economic affairs, Shih Yen-shiang, told parliament Wednesday that resumption of talks on a free-trade pact with the U.S. would be indefinitely delayed
Taiwan and the United States are expected to resume their dialogue on a key trade and investment pact in the new year, a US envoy said Wednesday.
A former US representative to Taiwan says the row over US beef could delay possible talks for a US-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Former American Institute in Taiwan Director Douglas Paal was speaking in Washington DC on Thursday.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has voiced hopes of reaching a free-trade agreement with the United States following a decision by the island to allow more US beef imports, a report said Wednesday.
Taiwan’s decision to relax its restrictions against U.S. beef imports has nothing to do with any attempt to resume trade talks with the United States under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) , Vice Premier Eric Lilun Chu said Monday.