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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


Beef import takes precedent over other U.S.-Taiwan issues: MOFA
The promotion of bilateral economic and trade talks between Taiwan and the United States will be hampered if the issue of a comprehensive opening of the Taiwan market to U.S. beef is not resolved, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
Ma: better ties with China needed for FTA with the US
Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou says the government should improve ties with China first if Taiwan wants to sign a free trade agreement with the US.
Taiwan, US hold ’productive’ talks
Taiwan and the United States completed bilateral talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in Washington, DC July 11. They agreed to launch the Consultative Committee on Agriculture, a new mechanism for dealing with bilateral food and agricultural issues.
US considers investment agreement with Taiwan
The United States said it is considering forging a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan but ruled out a free trade pact in the immediate future.
Washington still non-committal on FTA with Taiwan
A senior US trade official on Wednesday committed the Bush administration to strengthening trade ties with Taiwan, but was noncosmmittal in terms of the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and the US.
The help of a free-trade agreement
For the next 10 months, the US and China will be following Taiwanese politics closely. Economic differences between political parties will be an issue — most importantly how they affect Taiwan’s political future. At the same time, Taiwan and China will be watching how the US pursues its geopolitical interests in relation to both of them.
Business delegation heads to US to sell FTA
A delegation of business leaders has set off for the United States to promote a Taiwan-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
US representatives call for Taiwan-US trade agreement
Five members of the US House of Representatives have proposed a resolution in support of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the US and Taiwan.
AIT chief urges Taiwan to focus trade talks on TIFA
Taiwan should focus more on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) rather than on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the upcoming trade talks with the U.S., Stephen M. Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), told a press conference yesterday.
Labor Affairs chief to rally US FTA support
Council of Labor Affairs Chairman Lee Ying-yuan has left for the United States to clear up misunderstanding over Taiwan’s labor policy.