Taiwan targets June 2007 for FTA with United States

Taiwan targets June 2007 for FTA with United States

2006-04-02 / CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY

Taiwan looks forward to signing a free trade agreement with the United States before the expiration of the U.S. Trade Promotion Authority next June, Taiwan’s deputy representative in Washington, D.C. said Friday.

Speaking at a seminar on Capitol Hill, Stanley Kao said a Taiwan-U.S. FTA would bring enormous benefits to both countries and that Taiwan is always ready to negotiate relevant terms with the United States.

Hopefully, Kao said, an FTA can be fleshed out before the TPA - an act that authorizes the U.S. administration to sign bilateral and multilateral agreements with foreign governments to promote free trade without prior congressional approval - expires in June 2007.

It marked the first time that Taiwan has ever explicitly spelled out a desired timetable for signing an FTA with the United States.

The seminar was organized by the Association on Third World Affairs, a non-governmental organization, to discuss issues regarding free and fair trade.

Emphasizing that an FTA is critical to both sides, Kao said the United States would see a more-than 100 percent growth in its auto, rice, fish and other foodstuff exports to Taiwan after the signing of such an accord.

On the whole, Kao said, the annual U.S. exports to Taiwan would post an estimated 16 percent growth from the present level should an FTA take effect. In dollar terms, he added, annual U.S. exports to Taiwan would increase by US$6.6 billion.

For Taiwan, Kao said, the FTA would have a "locomotive effect" that might prompt other countries to follow suit. Because of China’s diplomatic suppression of Taiwan, Kao went on, Taiwan is facing the threat of being marginalized in the Asia-Pacific region and having a hard time forging bilateral ties with major countries around the world.

Describing the signing of FTAs with major countries around the world as being imperative to sustain Taiwan’s competitiveness, Kao said Taiwan is well-prepared for FTA talks with the United States at any time.

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source: Taiwan News