The United States announced that it has completed a new trade deal – the first part of a bilateral initiative launched last year called the “U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade.”
The United States and Taiwan conducted negotiations under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan – AIT – and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States – or TECRO.
As the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative noted in June 2022, the initiative is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the two parties’ economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses.
In a statement announcing the deal, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative noted that this first agreement “covers the areas of customs administration and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, services domestic regulation, anticorruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Through these provisions, U.S. businesses will be able to bring more products to Taiwan and Taiwanese customers, while creating more transparent and streamlined regulatory procedures that can facilitate investment and economic opportunities in both markets, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises.”
The negotiations for the recently concluded deal took less than a year. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in the statement, “This accomplishment represents an important step forward in strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. It demonstrates how we can work together and advance mutual trade priorities on behalf of our people.”
Among the many areas addressed, the negotiated text commits both sides to establish comprehensive anticorruption measures to prevent and combat bribery. Another key focus is finding ways to encourage trade and investment opportunities between the U.S. and Taiwan for small-and medium-sized enterprises, known as SMEs. They include training programs, trade education, trade finance, trade missions, and improvement in SME access to capital and credit.
Taiwan's Office of Trade Negotiations hailed the agreement as "historically significant" and expressed its commitment to concluding negotiations on remaining issues soon.
The agreement will be signed in the coming weeks by AIT and TECRO.
Ambassador Tai said, “We look forward to continuing these negotiations and finalizing a robust and high-standard trade agreement that tackles pressing 21st century economic challenges.”