Taiwan and the US should negotiate a bilateral trade agreement, Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said on Monday during a virtual conference hosted by the Atlantic Council, a US think tank.
Taiwan and the US last month held the Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, and on Sept. 17 signed the Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure, Finance and Market Cooperation.
These actions show that both sides have taken an important step to improve bilateral economic relations, Hsiao said.
Photo from the Taiwan in the US Facebook page
“Both Taiwan and the US will continue to expand cooperation in terms of the supply chain, telecommunications, health and the high-tech industry,” she said.
Taiwan and the US have mutually complementary economies as demonstrated by Taiwanese firms manufacturing parts for Apple Inc and Tesla, Hsiao said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that certain countries cannot be trusted, underscoring the necessity for Taiwan and the US to establish reliable supply-chain networks with trustworthy partners for 5G networks, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and other issues, she said.
Taiwan’s national security is an integral part of regional stability and peace, Hsiao said.
Heritage Foundation senior analyst Riley Walters told the conference that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) decision to relax restrictions on US pork and beef has removed obstacles to trade talks.
The Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue is far more significant than a trade deal, as the dialogue partially transcends trade policy differences and explores the tangible collaborations both sides can pursue, Walters said.
This is far more important to Taiwan, which is being sidelined by many regional trade agreements, he said.
Citing the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership on Nov. 15 and the willingness of its signatory countries to become part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is of utmost importance that Taiwan and the US take measures to strengthen bilateral economic ties, Hsiao said.
Taiwan is ready and willing to join the trade frameworks, but due to geopolitical strategic concerns, it faces an arduous and bumpy road, she said.
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