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
Following last week’s inking of an accord between the United States and South Korea for future implementation of a free trade agreement, Taipei has good reasons to urge the U.S. side to restart the FTA talks with the ROC, which were unilaterally suspended by Washington in 2006.
Taiwan’s Council for Economic Planning and Development estimates show that the FTA between the US and South Korea will have a US$2 billion impact on Taiwan, or approximately 5 percent of its total exports, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Pointing out that few problems exist in business and trade exchanges between Taiwan and the United States, a Taiwan economics official said Thursday that he is confident Taiwan will win the U.S. private sector’s support for the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
Taiwan’s representative to the WTO, Lin Yi-fu, yesterday called for Taiwanese entrepreneurs operating in the US to help drum up US support for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
There was a time when a lot of our electronics were stamped "Made in Taiwan." These days, a lot of them are still made by Taiwanese companies but may be stamped "Made in Mexico."
A senior US trade official on Tuesday dashed Taiwan’s hopes that Washington could enter into negotiations on a US-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) anytime soon, and said that Taiwan would have to gain strong support from the US business sector and Congress before an FTA could ever be considered.
Taiwan has asked the United States to use a special law that commits American defence to Taipei as a framework for forging a free trade agreement between the two economies.
U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) expressed support recently for the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Taiwan.
In one of his last official acts as chairman of the US House International Relations Committee, Henry Hyde, one of Taiwan’s leading champions in Congress, has urged the administration of US President George W. Bush to begin talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Taiwan "as soon as possible."
A free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States is a much desired policy aim in Taiwan. It would increase Taiwan’s trade and bind the island more closely to the U.S., Taiwan’s most important ally — even if formal links are lacking. But what is in it for Americans? This, after all, is what will carry weight with Washington.