Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to be Taiwan’s next representative to the US.
Hsiao is well versed in international affairs and Taiwan-US relations. In her days as a student in the US, she was a member of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) and served as chief executive of the Democratic Progressive Party’s US mission. She is familiar with a broad spectrum of Taiwanese affairs in the US.
FAPA hopes that Hsiao, after taking up her new post, would continue to deepen and normalize relations between Taiwan and the US, and that she would try to get a free-trade agreement (FTA) signed during her time in the position.
A Taiwan-US FTA is in the best interest of both nations.
Taiwan would benefit in at least three ways: An agreement would boost Taiwan-US trade and investment, raise Taiwan’s strategic position in the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy and boost international recognition of Taiwan.
US-China relations are deteriorating because of the trade dispute and the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s worsening investment environment is expected to incentivize investors from the US and other countries to accelerate their exodus from China, causing global supply chains to be restructured.
A Taiwan-US FTA would not only upgrade trade partnerships and attract foreign investment to Taiwan, but also help the nation to join regional economic integration initiatives, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
China’s expansion of its economic and military influence has badly upset regional stability and led the US to view China as a strategic competitor.
To prevent China from stealing advanced US technology and keep Chinese-made 5G communications products from threatening US national security, the US has increased its cooperation with Taiwan’s technological and military industries.
The US has persuaded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to construct a factory in the US. There is also a plan to set up a service center for US F-16 warplanes in Taiwan. An FTA would bolster bilateral cooperation in sensitive technological and military industries, and promote Taiwan’s trade and strategic status in the Indo-Pacific region.
An FTA could also boost US recognition of Taiwan as a nation. Ever since the US broke up diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, the US and Taiwan have only maintained unofficial relations, with all bilateral agreements being signed by the American Institute in Taiwan.
However, negotiating an FTA would be the responsibility of the Office of the US Trade Representative.
An FTA would only come into effect after being approved by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by the US president. It would be an official nation-to-nation agreement concluded by the US and Taiwan governments, giving it the force of a treaty under international law.
FAPA and Taiwan-friendly members of the US Congress have long called for the US and Taiwan to sign an FTA. As US-China trade tensions escalate and the Taiwan-US partnership grows ever closer, now is the perfect opportunity to negotiate and sign an FTA.
Taiwan — which has just been declared free of foot-and-mouth disease, so that it can start exporting pork again — should approach the issues of US pork and beef pragmatically, and based on international food safety standards.
At the same time as safeguarding public health, the government should strive to reach a Taiwan-US FTA that would serve both nations’ economic and strategic interests, and upgrade Taiwan’s international status.
Minze Chien is president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs.
Translated by Julian Clegg
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented