Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.
The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said.
The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi.
File Photo: REUTERS
Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
“The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic, but also signals a new beginning,” Cabinet spokesman Alan Lin (林子倫) told reporters in Taipei yesterday.
“Relevant tasks are yet to be completed... Taiwan will continue to move toward a comprehensive FTA [free-trade agreement] with the United States to ensure Taiwan’s economic security,” Lin said.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Trade Negotiations
Officials from both sides have conducted two rounds of negotiations to finalize the initial agreement, which covers customs and trade facilitation, regulatory practices, domestic regulation of services, anti-corruption practices, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The two sides are committed to working to facilitate bilateral trade and investment flows, improve regulatory practices, promote anti-corruption measures, and minimize unnecessary border formalities, the office said.
It does not cover tariff reductions or exemptions, but instead outlines practices and procedures aimed at streamlining and strengthening trade relations.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Trade Negotiations
The hope is that the initial agreement would be expanded to include other topics mandated in the initiative, such as agriculture, standards, digital trade, labor, environment, state-owned enterprises, and non-market policies and practices, the office said.
Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, but urged both sides to resolve the issue of double taxation to reduce business costs.
On Thursday last week, US representatives Adrian Smith, Suzan DelBene, Nicole Malliotakis and Judy Chu (趙美心) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for legislation to avoid double taxation between the US and Taiwan, one of the latest efforts by US lawmakers to ensure double taxation does not stand in the way of mutual investment.
Additional reporting by AFP
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