The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (AmCham) yesterday proposed a Taiwan commercial initiative (TCI) that would elevate Taiwan-US economic ties to a new level, and possibly lead to a bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
The chamber unveiled the plan during a virtual news conference scheduled for the release of its annual position paper, which calls for the initiative and a stable electricity supply, among other demands.
The trade group, which has 1,000 members from more than 500 foreign firms, said that the position paper outlines for Washington a six-track strategic approach to the enhancement of Taiwan-US economic and business relations.
Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters
“The stars are aligning for a sharp upgrade in US-Taiwan economic relations... AmCham is calling for more platforms and more private sector involvement through the TCI,” chamber president Andrew Wylegala said.
The first track has been achieved, following an announcement by the two sides that Trade and Investment Framework Agreement council meetings are to resume, the chamber said, adding that it had vigorously pushed for the talks to resume since their suspension four years ago.
The TCI calls for an expansion of the Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue initiated by the US Department of State in November last year by encompassing business participation, it said.
The TCI urges the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the US Department of Commerce to build transaction-oriented platforms promoting two-way trade and investment, include Taiwan in a multilateral economic agreement and establish a Taiwan-US pact on double taxation, it added.
The work streams reinforce each other and pave the way to the ultimate goal: a US-Taiwan trade agreement, it said.
The next few years might witness the biggest and most positive transformation in Taiwan’s economic links with the world since the Taiwan Relations Act in the 1970s and its entry into the WTO in the 2000’s, chamber chairman C.W. Chin (金奇偉) said, adding that the chamber is eager to make its contribution.
The position paper underscores pressing concerns, such as accelerating Taiwan’s digital transformation, bolstering its supply chains and ensuring a stable supply of energy as Taiwan seeks to transform its energy mix by 2025.
The paper advocates for the creation of a sovereign wealth fund that would draw on Taiwan’s large foreign reserves and increase its international profile.
AmCham called on the US government to allocate more surplus vaccines to Taiwan and to facilitate delivery from other sources, saying that Taiwan deserves to secure a steady supply of vaccine doses to protect its population in the wake of the recent local virus outbreak.
To transform Taiwan into an international destination, the chamber said that English classes in Taiwanese schools should focus on comprehension and oral communication, not on spelling and grammar, as has long been the local education model.
Taiwan should be more open to English-language multimedia content and incorporate online learning at all levels of its education system, as the nation would never be able to hire enough English teachers for all Taiwanese children, it said.
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