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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 ready to be free trade partner of US: Vice Minister
The formation of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and the United States will not only create a win-win situation for both, but also will benefit the U.S. by enhancing its presence in other countries, including China, a visiting Taiwan official said Tuesday.
Taiwan: MOEA position paper to promote FTA with the US
The Bureau of Foreign Trade plans to hold a publicity campaign in cities across the US this year to promote the benefits of signing a deal
Trade expert says US should sign FTA with Taiwan
The US should sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan, Greg Mastel, an international trade adviser at the law firm Miller & Chevalier in Washington said in an article published in today’s issue of the Washington-based Weekly Standard.
US-Taiwan free trade agreement in pipeline?
In last week’s parliamentary elections, Taiwan’s opposition party won a surprise victory which could spell trouble for a bilateral FTA with the United States.
ROC economics minister meets with US official, senator
Visiting Republic of China Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh met with Deputy US Trade Representative Josette Sheeran Shiner Thursday to discuss matters of mutual concern. Ho, who arrived in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to lobbying support for the signing of Taiwan-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), said her meeting with Shiner marked a good start for Taiwan’s FTA drive.
Premier Yu calls for more FTAs during NY stopover
Premier Yu Shyi-kun encouraged local enterprises Saturday to invest in Central American countries that continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, saying this will help the government maintain the ties.
Taiwan: US trade envoy to examine IPR progress
Charles Freeman, assistant US trade representative for China affairs, is scheduled to meet officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs today, marking the first trade talks between the two countries since October 2002, a government official said yesterday.
The US, Taiwan and an FTA
The issue of a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Area (US-TwFTA) is back on the agenda-at least it is back on Taiwan’s agenda. Recently, President Chen expressed hope that a US-TwFTA could be signed as soon as possible.
Time not yet ripe for US-Taiwan FTA
A delegation of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei said here Wednesday that although Taiwan is keen on signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, the time for such an agreement is not yet ripe.
Taiwan: New Cabinet gets policy lesson from Chen, Yu
President Chen Shui-bian and Premier Yu Shyi-kun gave speeches to more than 40 members of the new Cabinet during a two-day orientation program in picturesque Ilan County in late May. The educational trip was arranged to familiarize the new appointees with government policy for the next four years.