On June 14, 2021, the Council on Foreign Relations published a blog post by David Sacks and Jennifer Hillman called “The Time Is Now for a Trade Deal With Taiwan.” The article argues that a comprehensive U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement would benefit U.S. companies, bolster Taiwan’s economic security, and underscore Washington’s interest in cross-Strait stability.
While resuming TIFA talks is a positive step, this dialogue alone is unlikely to generate enough momentum toward a trade agreement. The time is ripe to be more ambitious. President Tsai has three years left in her second term, and because she does not have to stand for reelection she is in a position to spend political capital to finalize a trade deal with the United States. Her successor, regardless of political party, will be unlikely to make the necessary concessions during a first term. President Tsai, who has focused on diversifying Taiwan’s economy away from China (with mixed success), would view a trade agreement with the United States as an important part of her legacy, and can be expected to negotiate in good faith.
A U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement would increase the island’s economic and national security while further opening an important market for U.S. exports. It would signal support for an important partner and underscore the U.S. interest in cross-strait stability. The time is right for an ambitious U.S.-Taiwan trade agenda.
The US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Coalition welcomes this support for a Bilateral Trade Agreement with Taiwan.