The US and Taiwan have announced the signing of a landmark agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, marking a major step towards solidifying their bilateral economic and trade relationship.
Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi represented the US during the signing ceremony, which was facilitated by representatives of the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.
The newly signed agreement focuses on a multitude of trade areas including customs administration, good regulatory practices, services domestic regulation, anti-corruption measures, and provisions for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Under the agreement, customs administration and trade facilitation will be streamlined, helping to reduce wait times, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and diminish spoilage of perishable goods. The deal also facilitates electronic submission of customs forms and payment of duties, taxes, and fees.
The accord also introduces improved transparency tools to assist SMEs to better comprehend regulatory procedures in both the US and Taiwan. It establishes a Good Regulatory Practices Committee to oversee the implementation of obligations, enhance information sharing, and facilitate regulatory cooperation.
Further, the agreement ensures that service suppliers are treated fairly when applying for operational licenses. It also prohibits licensing rules that discriminate on the basis of gender and mandates that regulators must remain independent of the industries they oversee.
In terms of anti-corruption, the agreement establishes comprehensive measures to combat bribery and other forms of corruption, building on the framework established in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
For SMEs, the agreement promotes trade and investment opportunities between the US and Taiwan. This includes facilitating access to capital and credit, offering training programs, trade education, and trade missions, and promoting online resources for SMEs.
“We thank our Taiwan partners for helping us reach this important milestone and look forward to upcoming negotiations on additional trade areas set forth in the initiative’s negotiating mandate,” said Bianchi.