Taiwan’s Premier Calls for U.S.-Taiwan BTA

Premier Chen Chien-jen and Paul Wolfowitz

On February 9, 2023, Taiwan’s Premier Chen Chien-jen advocated for a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) during a meeting with the Chairman’s Delegation to Taiwan conducted by Coalition member US-Taiwan Business Council.

During the meeting, Premier Chen said he hopes that both the U.S. and Taiwan can “establish a more comprehensive economic and trade partnership.”

Premier Chen’s conversation with the Chairman’s Delegation was published in a press release by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan:

Premier Chen Chien-jen on Thursday welcomed a delegation from the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC). Premier Chen noted that bilateral economic and trade relations between Taiwan and the U.S. have been steadily advancing in recent years. The premier said he believes both sides can establish a more comprehensive economic and trade partnership by gradually establishing a bilateral trade agreement and an avoidance of double taxation agreement (ADTA), and added that he looks forward to the council’s continued support in relation to Taiwan-U.S. economic and trade cooperation.

Taiwan and the U.S. are high trust priority trading partners, the premier said, and this allows for continued bilateral cooperation on trade issues, economic policy and industrial collaboration through mechanisms such as the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, and the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration Framework. Furthermore, the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade was launched in June last year and a round of trade negotiations was held in Taiwan in January. Premier Chen said each side will continue talks under the initiative, to create high standard, economically meaningful trade agreements.

By building on the foundation established through these mechanisms, Taiwan and the U.S. can launch negotiations on the signing of a bilateral trade agreement and an ADTA. This would strengthen the bilateral economic, trade and investment relationship, alleviate tax pressures faced by enterprises making cross-border investments and create niches for industrial and talent exchanges, the premier said.

Paul Wolfowitz, USTBC Chairman Emeritus, lead the delegation and echoed the Premier’s advocacy.

[Mr. Wolfowitz] said in his remarks that recent surveys show American business confidence in Taiwan has been increasing impressively in the last few years, which is a tribute to Taiwan’s government and to the environment that a free and open society brings to business. He affirmed that USTBC is very strongly supportive of the economic agreements emphasized in Premier Chen’s remarks. 

Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz said that reinforcing regional peace is not only in the interests of the people of Taiwan, but also in the interests of the people of China, the U.S. and indeed the whole world, because a war in the Taiwan Strait would not stay in the Taiwan Strait—it would spread and have terrible impacts all over the world. The chairman emeritus said the key to preventing war in the Strait is confidence in Taiwan, as well as deterrents and diplomacy, which he illustrated with a quote credited to Prussian king Frederick the Great: “Diplomacy without arms is like an orchestra without instruments.” The council has thus been very supportive of arms sales to Taiwan and of making sure Taiwan gets the weapons it needs and requests, in sufficient quantities and in the timeframe necessary.

Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz said Taiwan has one of the best records in dealing with COVID and has a great deal to teach the world about what works and doesn’t work in combating epidemics. He added that it is a disgrace that the World Health Organization was unwilling to communicate properly with Taiwan or to bring Taiwan into the World Health Assembly.

The US-Taiwan BTA Coalition welcomes this support for a bilateral trade agreement from Taiwan’s Premier Chen.

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