By: Randall G. Schriver |
On August 28, 2020, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen announced a decision to rollback restrictions on American agricultural imports, representing a significant shift in Taiwan’s trade policy towards the United States. The Project 2049 Institute has long supported stronger trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. We commend the easing of restrictions on American beef and setting of standards for ractopamine residue in pork imports, and are encouraged by prospects for closer U.S.-Taiwan economic ties.
President Tsai’s new policy addresses the foremost concern of the U.S. Trade Representative Office regarding Taiwan’s import policies. Beef and pork issues have remained the primary barrier to discussions of a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement (FTA). Yet, in the absence of an FTA and stalled Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) dialogues, Taiwan is currently the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner. That bilateral trade has flourished in a constrained environment is indicative that an FTA could invite immense economic opportunities. Now is the perfect time for a U.S.-Taiwan FTA.
During this pandemic, Taiwan has shown the world the vitality of its democracy and gravity of its role in the global supply chain, as a critical node in the development of emerging technologies. Washington should focus on strengthening trade ties with Taipei not only to secure supply chains and set standards, but also to set a strong precedent for how the United States will engage economically with the Indo-Pacific region.
Since its inception, the Project 2049 Institute has called for enhanced economic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. On February 14, 2019, the Project 2049 Institute published a report advocating for a U.S.-Taiwan FTA: “A Golden Opportunity for a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement.” As highlighted in the report, Taipei and Washington share important priorities in establishing technology standards, preserving cross-Strait stability, and strengthening the economic network within Southeast Asia. An FTA with Taiwan would advance the goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific, secure global supply chains, and provide Taiwan’s leaders with the economic prowess to engage with Beijing from a position of greater strength.
The Project 2049 Institute is confident that Taiwan’s eased restrictions on beef and pork will remove existing obstacles to the formation of a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement. We applaud President Tsai’s continued efforts to uphold international norms and safeguard peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Honorable Randall G. Schriver
The Project 2049 Institute