U.S. and Taiwan Discuss Enhancing And Deepening Trade Relations Under Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)
PR0626E | Date: 2006-05-26
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia met May 25-26 with Taiwan Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (Ruey-long) under the AIT-TECRO (American Institute in Taiwan - Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office) Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), to discuss how to enhance and deepen the already strong trading relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
"We came to Taiwan with an ambitious agenda," Deputy USTR Bhatia said. "We've had productive talks and in almost every area, if we haven't resolved our issues, we've mapped out a way forward towards a solution." Ambassador Bhatia commended Taiwan's progress in protecting intellectual property rights over the past several years. "Intellectual property rights in Taiwan used to be one of the most difficult issues for us to find resolution," said Bhatia. "Our discussions over the past couple days are a good indication of how much has changed in Taiwan. We welcome Taiwan's Action Plan for IPR Protection and are pleased that we have agreed to twice-yearly IPR consultations that will provide a useful mechanism to advance our cooperative efforts to address specific concerns including internet piracy, the unauthorized use of copyright material in connection with textbooks used in college and university instruction, and protecting patented pharmaceuticals. Improving enforcement will be critical to the success of all of these initiatives, so we will need to work closely together to ensure that concrete and effective measures are taken that result in the reduction of infringing activities in all of these areas."
In addition to IPR, the two sides discussed in depth a wide range of important bilateral trade issues including agriculture, pharmaceutical pricing and regulation, government procurement and telecommunications policy.
Participants agreed to establish a Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA) that will address a wide range of agricultural trade and policy issues and to hold regular meetings to discuss pharmaceutical market access and health care reform. The two sides also agreed to continue cooperation to improve trade security and to hold further discussions of how to enhance the bilateral investment relationship. The U.S. welcomed Taiwan's establishment of an independent telecommunications and broadcasting regulator.
Ambassador Bhatia noted that "the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round is the top priority for both our economies. We are glad we can count on Taiwan's support as we move closer to our objective of a freer, fairer multilateral trading system." Taiwan has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2002 and as a major trading economy is poised to benefit from an ambitious result in the WTO negotiations. Participants also agreed to enhance cooperation on government procurement. Noting the trend towards regional economic integration, the U.S. and Taiwan reaffirmed their commitment to continued bilateral economic cooperation.
The United States and Taiwan have a long-standing and robust trade relationship. In 2005, total two-way goods trade between Taiwan and the U.S. was almost US$57 billion. The U.S. is Taiwan's third largest trading partner and Taiwan is the United States' eighth largest trading partner. The TIFA was established in 1994 to resolve bilateral trade issues and enhance economic cooperation. This was the 5th meeting under the TIFA. The previous TIFA meeting took place in Washington, D.C. in November 2004. The TIFA is an important mechanism for both parties to resolve bilateral trade issues and to address the concerns of the U.S. business community.