The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is a non-profit, private corporation established shortly after the United States Government changed its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing on January 1, 1979. The Taiwan Relations Act (PL 96-8) of April 10, 1979, authorized the continuation of “commercial, cultural and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan.” It also provided that “any programs, transactions, or other relations conducted or carried out by the President or any Agency of the United States Government with respect to Taiwan shall, in the manner and to the extent directed by the President, be conducted and carried out by or through the American Institute in Taiwan.” The Department of State, through a contract with the Institute, provides a large part of AIT’s funding and guidance in its operations. Congress, in passing the Taiwan Relations Act, also assumed an oversight role with respect to the Institute’s operations.
AIT Washington, located in Arlington, Virginia, is the headquarters office of the American Institute in Taiwan. It serves as a liaison with its counterpart organization, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), as well as with U.S. government agencies.
AIT’s Taipei Office (AIT/T) with a total staff of over 450 people undertakes a wide range of activities representing U.S. interests, including commercial services, agricultural sales, consular services and cultural exchanges. The Institute also operates a Chinese language school, trade center, and library. AIT has a branch office in Kaohsiung (AIT/K) that handles local commercial promotion, consular services, information and cultural work.