The U.S. State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs on Oct. 3 sounded a positive tone about prospects for improved U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment relations, noting continued discussions among officials about a potential U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement and prospects for reform that could lead to that country’s inclusion in regional trade agreements.
The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) working group will convene this month to continue discussions it began in September about “promoting a transparent and predictable investment regime,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Kin Moy said at a Washington, D.C., conference on U.S.-Taiwan-China relations. It was hosted by the Carnegie Endownment for International Peace, the Republic of China Mainland Affairs Council and National Chengchi University.
“Through these TIFA processes, we aim to pave the way for new trade opportunities, renew the commitment to international trade disciplines and improve the investment climate,” he said.
Moy said Taiwan has made some progress in liberalizing its policies, such as by taking steps to end its ban on beef imports—a ban that further hampered already difficult relations between the two countries. But he acknowledged that U.S. companies want Taiwan to provide greater transparency and predictability in its approval processes for foreign direct investment and to enhance trade secret protection policies.
He said if Taiwan makes changes to provide transparency and open the country to international markets, the U.S. would be more encouraging of Taiwan’s participation in the Trade Pacific Partnership talks among 12 countries—something Taiwan has eyed and the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei has supported(182 ITD, 9/19/13). Likewise, the lure of that agreement and its potential creation of a highly visible and broad market may suffice to entice Taiwan to liberalize its trading regimes, Moy said.
“We encourage moves in that direction, and by fully utilizing the TIFA process, Taiwan will build confidence in its trade relationship with the United States,” Moy said.
Moy also said that, over the next two months, two Taiwanese businesses delegations will visit the U.S. to scope out investment opportunities. The first delegation will attend the SelectUSA Summit in late October, and the other will hold attend “high level” meetings in Washington, New York and California on trade and investment.
Written by Christina L. Lyons, copyright 2014 Bloomberg BNA International Trade Daily.