U.S. and Taiwan Enhance Trade Cooperation
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) held the sixth meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on July 10th and 11th in Washington, DC. Karan Bhatia, Deputy United States Trade Representative, chief negotiator for the American side and John Deng, the head of Taiwan's Office of the Trade Negotiator, led the discussions on how to enhance and deepen the already strong trading relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
"We've had productive talks on the full range of bilateral issues in our trade and economic relationship," Ambassador Bhatia said. "Having reinvigorated the TIFA process over the last several years, we are moving forward in deepening U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation. We also had a very productive discussion about enhancing cooperation in regional and multilateral fora."
Ambassador Bhatia welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA) to address a wide range of agricultural trade and policy issues. The CCA will hold its inaugural meeting this fall. Participants at these TIFA talks discussed a range of agricultural trade issues including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues. AIT and TECRO pledged to continue to work to improve cooperation on resolving Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues, and follow the principles of the WTO SPS Agreement and World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) guidelines in the development of import requirements for relevant agricultural products.
Ambassador Bhatia again commended Taiwan's progress in protecting intellectual property rights over the past several years. "At last year's TIFA meetings we agreed to hold twice-yearly IPR consultations to advance our cooperative efforts to address long-standing concerns about IPR protection in Taiwan," Ambassador Bhatia noted. "This dialogue has been valuable in supporting the significant progress that Taiwan has made." In the past year, Taiwan has taken a number of important concrete steps in the area of IPR enforcement, particularly the passage of legislation establishing a new IPR Court and introducing civil and criminal liability for unauthorized peer to peer (P2P) file sharing of copyrighted material. Ambassador Bhatia also welcomed the establishment of a new task force at the Ministry of Education to strengthen and promote copyright enforcement on or around university campuses and looked forward to continuing our cooperative efforts on IPR.
During these TIFA talks, the two sides held extensive discussions regarding ongoing efforts to enhance the bilateral investment climate. Both sides agreed on the significant economic benefits of openness to foreign investment and the importance of a predictable and transparent regulatory process to a positive environment for investment. Both sides agreed to intensify discussions of possible concrete steps to deepen cooperation in this area, including the possibility of a bilateral investment agreement.
In addition, the two sides discussed a wide range of important bilateral trade and economic issues including pharmaceutical pricing and regulation, government procurement and taxation. The two sides also agreed to continue cooperation to improve trade security.
On the multilateral front, the two sides agreed that a successful Doha outcome must deliver meaningful new market opportunities to significantly expand trade, promote global economic growth and foster development. The successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round is a top trade policy priority for both economies. 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.
The United States and Taiwan have a long-standing and vibrant trade relationship. In 2006, total two-way goods trade between Taiwan and the U.S. was almost US$61 billion, up nearly $4 billion from 2005. The U.S. is Taiwan's third largest trading partner and Taiwan is the United States' ninth largest trading partner. The TIFA was established in 1994 to resolve bilateral trade issues and enhance economic cooperation. This was the sixth meeting under the TIFA. The previous TIFA meeting took place in Taipei, May 25-26, 2006. 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.