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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


Drug-tainted US beef removed from Taiwan markets
Three shipments of US beef have been pulled from Taiwan’s shelves after they were found to contain Ractopamine, an official said Sunday.
Wu talks of possibilities in TIFA talks
With the US and South Korea close to signing a free-trade agreement (FTA), Premier Wu Den-yih yesterday said Taiwan and the US could negotiate item by item in the next round of talks for the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
Taiwan, US likely to resume TIFA talks soon: US scholars
Taiwan and the United States are likely to resume talks in the next few months on their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) after a hiatus of three years, Washington-based US scholars said Thursday.
US rules out Taiwan free trade deal
The United States has ruled out a free trade agreement with Taiwan amid a dispute over beef imports, days after the island signed a sweeping accord with longtime adversary China.
US scholars see WTO as best path to resolving beef dispute
By taking the case to the WTO, the US will be able to "depoliticize" the issue, a CSIS fellow argues
US official says no basis for renegotiation of beef issue
The US Trade Representative Office said Friday that Taiwan has destroyed its bilateral agreement with the United States on beef imports and there is no basis for renegotiation of the issue.
US lawmakers urge tough line against Taiwan on beef
The United States should not resume trade and investment talks with Taiwan until that country reverses a ban on US beef, a bipartisan group of four senior US lawmakers said on Wednesday.
Will beef derail US-Taiwan trade relations?
The U.S. Defense Department’s approval of a new arms package to Taiwan on Wednesday was the best new year’s gift that President Ma Ying-jeou could ask for
Taiwan bans US beef
Taiwan’s legislative Yuan Tuesday banned the sale of US beef to that island country, a move that infuriated US beef exporters and could lead to trade disputes with the United States.
Taiwan bans import of US beef
In a reversal of a negotiated deal with Washington, Taiwanese lawmakers on Tuesday banned imports of some kinds of beefs from the United States, citing health concerns.