AmCham Taiwan Calls on Biden Administration to “Urgently” Begin BTA Talks

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In June 2022, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan published their annual Taiwan White Paper, which conveys AmCham Taiwan’s recommendations for strengthening bilateral ties. The 2022 White Paper calls for the Biden Administration to “accelerate economic integration with Taiwan via a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) and harness bipartisan, bicameral support to initiate it.”

We call urgently on the Biden administration to build upon the pledge by the U.S. and Taiwan chief trade negotiators in Bangkok in May to find “concrete ways to deepen the U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment relationship” by beginning talks on a BTA. Such a trade pact is the most effective and expeditious means to further open and streamline Taiwan’s markets for U.S. goods (including agricultural products) and investment, as well as to harmonize industrial standards, regulations, and practices with those of the U.S. The strategic importance of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has both economic and security implications that could be effectively addressed under a BTA.

Second, a comprehensive agreement will facilitate greater investment in the U.S. at a time when Taiwanese firms need to invest overseas in the high-tech, high-salary industries of the future. Third, signing a BTA with Taiwan demonstrates U.S. confidence in Taiwan and encourages like-minded partners to broaden Taiwan’s international space through similar agreements. In addition to these strategic trade elements with their clear implications for U.S. defense preparedness, a BTA would bolster both the U.S.’ and Taiwan’s economic and thus overall security vis-à-vis an assertive China.

AmCham Taiwan is far from standing alone in our advocacy of a BTA. Scores of politicians from both major parties and from both houses of Congress have made the case for a BTA, and their numbers are growing. Their support is evident in the multiple resolutions and letters sent to the former and current U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the former President. Meanwhile, passage of Taiwan-supportive legislation such as the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019 recommend measures to create forward momentum on a BTA. Should the administration lack the willingness and/or resources to carry out negotiations expeditiously, we call on Congress to reassert its constitutional power to push forward a BTA by passing legislation requiring that negotiations for such an agreement begin this year, with a completed text presented for passage by early 2024. Such a mandate could also establish a rough trade promotion authority- style scope for the pact, modeled on the most recent trade agreement Congress approved, the USMCA with Canada and Mexico.

Source: AmCham Taiwan 2022 Taiwan White Paper: Requests to Washington

The US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Coalition welcomes this call to action by our Coalition member AmCham Taiwan.

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