Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 4 News List

US-Taiwan FTA overdue: report

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, WASHINGTON

A Heritage Foundation fellow said on Wednesday in a report that US businesses generally support the signing of a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the US and Taiwan and that such an agreement is long overdue.

The US, for its benefit, should sign an FTA with Taiwan the sooner the better, John Tkacik, a senior research fellow in China, Taiwan and Mongolia policy in the foundation's Asian Studies Center wrote in an article that was published on-line on Wednesday titled Free Trade with Taiwan is Long Overdue.

A US-Taiwan FTA has a lot to offer for everyone and promises to be more beneficial to US exports than to Taiwan's exports, Tkacik said, adding that a US-Taiwan FTA has the potential to boost US jobs in key manufacturing industries, with autos and business equipment topping the list.

US manufacturers of other machinery and equipment, especially office equipment, engines, turbines, communications equipment, appliances and an array of industrial control computers would enjoy similar increases in exports if a US-Taiwan FTA were signed, he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Taiwan is an important global power in its own right. Taiwan is now the world's 16th largest economy, the 10th largest trading power and the "third-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves after China and Japan."

He said Taiwan has a larger population than Australia and a larger GDP than any ASEAN member. For the past two decades, he said, Taiwan has consistently ranked as one of the US' top 10 export markets and it already gives fairly free access to imported US goods and services, which totaled US$23 billion last year.

Among other things, a US-Taiwan FTA would increase US rice, poultry and livestock exports and open a significant new market for new research medicines, he said.

US pharmaceutical companies would also gain, given the openness of Taiwan officials in discussing National Health Insurance pharmaceutical reimbursements, he said.

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