Statement by AIT Chairman Richard Bush on the Signing of the AIT-TECRO Agreement Concluding Bilateral Negotiations Concerning Taiwan's Accession to the World Trade Organization
PR9809E | Date: 1998-02-21
It was my pleasure today to sign, along with my good friend Representative Stephen Chen, the agreement concluding the bilateral negotiations concerning Taiwan's accession to the World Trade Organization. This agreement constitutes a win-win outcome for the American and Taiwan economies. It is probably the most important agreement signed between the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (formerly CCNAA) since their establishment nineteen years ago. It signifies that the deep and mutually beneficial relationship between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan is strong and growing.
On February 9th, US and Taiwan teams began the seventeenth round of negotiations on Taiwan's WTO accession, negotiations which had continued for the past four years. There was no guarantee when this round began that the talks would result in an agreement, for the toughest issues of any negotiation are left until the end. Yet through the dedication, professionalism, and sincerity displayed by the two delegations, agreement was reached [Friday in Washington]. Many individuals had a share in this great achievement. I want to pay special credit to the leaders of the two negotiating teams: Minister Wang Chih-kang, Vice-Minister Lin Yi-fu, and Vice-Chairman Ling Shiang-Ning on the Taiwan side and Robert Cassidy and David Burns on the American side. These gentlemen were ably aided by the perseverance and tireless effort of the men and women of the two delegations, who never gave up the quest for success and never stopped looking for mutually beneficial solutions to immensely complicated problems. In particular, I wish to express my personal gratitude to and respect for the members of the Taiwan delegation, who labored day and night far from home and who learned, in the middle of their stay here, that friends and respected colleagues had died in a tragic air accident in Taipei.
This is a good agreement for both sides. American companies, exporters, and farmers will have new opportunities in the world's fourteenth largest economy. Consumers in Taiwan will benefit as tariffs on imported goods decline over the next five years. As Taiwan companies are exposed more to global economic forces, they will become even more competitive and successful than they already are.
As I said at the outset, this agreement is a great achievement. Both sides won.