bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

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


On the menu in Taiwan? US beef with a dash of ractopamine
Taiwanese officials on Wednesday said they would recommend a conditional lifting of restrictions against U.S. beef that contains a “safe level” of ractopamine, a meat-leanness enhancer used by U.S. cattle raisers, to the legislature.
ANALYSIS: Academics lambaste US’ ractopamine safety data
Local experts in hygiene and veterinary medicine have urged the US to squarely face the challenges posed by the scientific evidence on which it has based its contention that US beef containing the lean meat-enhancing feed additive ractopamine is safe for human consumption, before it presses Taiwan to handle the issue scientifically.
Pig farmers plan protest against US beef on March 8
Some 20,000 pig farmers will take to the streets of Taipei on March 8 to protest against any move to lift the bans on imports of US beef that contain residues of feed additive ractopamine
Taiwan urged to follow chewing gum example in addressing beef issue
A Singaporean academic suggested Sunday that Taiwan follow Singapore’s approach to a sticky controversy with the United States over a chewing gum ban as it grapples with a dispute over imports of US beef.
Major hypermarkets trying to deal with US beef issue
Four major hypermarkets in Taiwan have been making efforts to reassure consumers about the safety of their beef products, amid speculations that Taiwan may be preparing to lift its ban on US beef imports that contain residues of the feed additive ractopamine in order to facilitate trade talks
Group vows to protest if ban on ractopamine lifted
An association of hog growers threatened Friday to mobilize its members in protest outside the Presidential Office if the government buckles under pressure and allows the entry of US beef imports containing a banned leanness-enhancing drug.
Beef issue pivotal to resumption of TIFA talks: US official
A visiting high-ranking US official said Thursday that Taiwan’s ban on the importation of specific American beef products is a challenging issue that needs to be addressed before talks can resume over the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between the two sides.
Taiwan-US FTA not in cards: US official
A free trade agreement between Taiwan and the United States is not realistic at the moment as there remain many barriers, a high-level U.S. official said Wednesday.
Chinese opposition not a concern of U.S.-Taiwan FTA: scholar
The real barrier to the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Taiwan is not China’s opposition, but American disinterest and Taiwanese protectionism, a research fellow of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation said Wednesday.
Officials indicate ractopamine ban remains in place
Taiwan is in no hurry to lift the ban on a lean growth-enhancing agent, the cause of a major trade dispute with the US, as the international food standards setting body again failed to advance maximum residue limits (MRLs) for the additive, government officials said yesterday.