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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


Senior US official dashes FTA hopes
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 asks US to use security law as model for FTA
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.
Rep. King backs U.S.-Taiwan FTA
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.
Hyde urges start of FTA talks between US, 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."
FTA: what’s in it for America?
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.
Deng pushes for US FTA talks next year
An official expressed the hope on Tuesday that Taiwan and the US could start negotiations on the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) next spring.
No san-tong, no U.S. FTA
The U.S. has bluntly warned the pro-independence government of President Chen Shui-bian that it will not negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Taiwan unless the island opens san-tong (three direct transport links) with the mainland, the island’s biggest export market.
PR firm hired to push FTA
Taiwan has hired a US public relations firm to push the US to sign a free-trade agreement with Taipei, a Taiwanese radio network reported yesterday.
Taiwan presses for US trade pact
Taiwan urged the United States to move quickly to forge a free-trade agreement (FTA) with America’s eighth biggest trading partner, despite bitter objections from China.
Convincing Washington to sign a trade deal
Recently, the Research and Planning Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) executive director Richard Vuylsteke to a conference discussing win-win strategies for negotiating a Taiwan-US free trade agreement (FTA).