New Round of US-Taiwan Trade Initiative Talks End 台美貿易倡議談判順利 可望簽早收協議

The second round of "U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade" negotiations ended on Jan. 17. Trade Representative John Deng said there is a consensus with the U.S. on a majority of clauses, which will be confirmed over the next several weeks via videoconferences. There could be an early harvest agreement.

Minister without Portfolio John Deng, who also serves as Taiwan's trade representative, held a press conference on Jan. 17 to discuss the progress made during the second round of "U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade" negotiations. He said the negotiations concluded smoothly.

John Deng, Trade Representative, Office of Trade Negotiations: “The two sides have reached a consensus on the great majority of the clauses. There are still a few clauses that require further negotiation.”

The first round of talks took place in November 2022 in New York. The second round was held in Taipei. The U.S. sent over 20 people to Taiwan for the talks. The initiative includes 11 subjects, and the "services domestic regulation" was added this time. An early harvest agreement could be signed on this subject along with trade facilitation, SMEs, anti-corruption, and good regulatory practices.  

John Deng, Trade Representative, Office of Trade Negotiations: “It's very clear that future trade cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. will be conducted on a very equal basis.”

Roy Lee, senior deputy executive director of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research's Taiwan WTO and RTA Center, says disputed clauses should have been resolved in the second round and the final work such as sorting out legal clauses should be underway. If all goes smoothly, the overall negotiations can be completed by November. This will show members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership that Taiwan is ready to become a member. However, China may throw up some political obstacles.

Roy Lee, Sr. Dep. Exec. Director, Taiwan WTO & RTA Center, CIER: “The U.S. is usually the country that demands the highest standards from others, so if the U.S. accepts Taiwan, then completing the negotiations per se is good proof that Taiwan is ready. However, this won't help with the political obstacles in joining the CPTPP.”

Scholars say the U.S. did not invite Taiwan to partake in Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity talks in May 2022. This initiative should be a response to that.

Li Da-jung, Assoc. Prof., Grad. Inst. of Int'l Affairs & Strategic Studies, TKU: “If Taiwan can, then of course it would like to participate in multilateral mechanisms while maintaining bilateral relations with the U.S. That's not to say that the bilateral mechanism between Taiwan and the U.S. is not good. It's still good, and can promote some mutual cooperation. However, this is an arrangement that was made because Taiwan has no chance of joining multilateral mechanisms in the short term.”

Deng said negotiations are still ongoing and he can't say when the final agreement will be signed. The current work is confirming content and he hopes there will be a major achievement this year.












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