The Importance of a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement

The National Bureau of Asian Research
Date: December 21, 2020
By: Lotta Danielsson

Lotta Danielsson argues that the signing of a high-standards and comprehensive bilateral U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement would have positive political implications and help improve Taiwan’s regional economic integration.

U.S.-Taiwan trade and economic relations have taken center stage in the bilateral relationship over the last several months, gaining steam since August 28, 2020, when President Tsai Ing-wen unilaterally announced measures to open the Taiwan market to certain previously banned U.S. pork and beef imports. Expanded economic engagement has included a visit to Taiwan by Keith Krach, the undersecretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment at the U.S. Department of State, along with the September signing of the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation. It has also included a visit to Washington, D.C., by a Taiwan government delegation for the inaugural U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue (EPPD) held in late November.

The EPPD was conducted by the U.S. Department of State and the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs. It represents a forward-leaning and wide-ranging platform for the United States and Taiwan to build on existing economic dialogue and cooperation in many key sectors, including semiconductor supply chains, 5G and telecommunications, healthcare, renewable energy, and investment. The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that formalized the EPPD and set a five-year plan for continued discourse, consisting of annual high-level talks alternatively in Washington and Taipei. The signed MOU should help maintain the fledgling dialogue despite the upcoming change in U.S. administrations.    [FULL  STORY]

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