Taiwan appears to be making progress in pursuing a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) with the U.S. September’s visit of Under Secretary of State Keith Krach, while brief, was a strong indication of the U.S. government’s desire to move ahead on strengthening economic relations with Taiwan. Still, a lot of work needs to be done to move the process toward a BTA forward, especially since it is not entirely clear what the process will be.
For our part, AmCham is focusing our efforts on a few key areas with an emphasis on identifying the relevant stakeholders in the BTA process and then letting them know that the Chamber views this initiative as a top priority.
First, as you may have heard, AmCham has entered into an understanding with the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council to jointly establish a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Business Coalition. This Coalition is intended to solidify support for a U.S.-Taiwan BTA and act as a crucial engine for advocacy to promote BTA negotiations with Taiwan. We are currently recruiting members – predominantly American organizations, companies, and influential individuals – to join the coalition and support this advocacy initiative.
Second, AmCham has signed a joint statement with the Chinese National Association for Industry and Commerce in Taiwan. This body represents many of Taiwan’s most prominent businesses. Given that Taiwan and the U.S. are among each other’s major trading partners, there is strong interest on the part of the CNAIC to work with us to push for a BTA. As expressed in our joint statement, “After 69 years of AmCham’s operation in Taiwan, there is no question that the stability and prosperity of Taiwan is vital to our members.” We are convinced that a BTA will further that stability and prosperity.
Third, we have been meeting with AIT as well as Taiwan government officials to understand their respective positions on the process of achieving a BTA, as well as the potential timelines. We want to make sure, to the extent possible, that we are all on the same page in how we approach the BTA issue.
Finally, AmCham plans to hold a virtual CEO Mission to the U.S. Although COVID-19 this year made it impossible to send a delegation to Washington as we typically do each June, we still feel the need to share our views with key stakeholders in the U.S. Led by our Government Relations Committee, the Chamber will be reaching out virtually to many of the important contacts we would usually visit in person. Key among these is the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), which is responsible for driving the American trade policy agenda. With an American presidential election fast approaching, it is even more important to share our members’ views with Congress and others interested in bolstering the bilateral relationship. The aim is to garner bipartisan support to ensure that the U.S. continues to support Taiwan’s stability and economic prosperity as America’s 9th largest trading partner.
We hope that these efforts will help expedite progress toward BTA negotiations and continue to drive the growth in trade between the U.S. and Taiwan.