US-Taiwan Business Council Applauds Taiwan for Needed Changes to Pork and Beef Import Regime and Calls for Opening Bilateral Trade Agreement Negotiations
(Arlington, Virginia, August 28, 2020)
The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the announcement by President Tsai Ing-wen that Taiwan will set standards for ractopamine residue in imported pork and ease import restrictions on American beef. This is the most important development in bilateral relations in the past decade, and it opens the door to a possible Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) between the United States and Taiwan. The Council calls on the U.S. to respond by launching BTA negotiations as soon as possible.
Issues surrounding ractopamine residue in meat imports have been an insurmountable obstacle for expanded trade talks for the last decade. Under successive administrations, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has all but refused to conduct a regular trade dialogue with Taiwan, with no enthusiasm even for engagement under the Trade & Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). TIFA is a modest platform designed for trade relationships far less important than Taiwan, and yet no U.S.-Taiwan TIFA talks have taken place since October 2016.
Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers said “It is hard to calibrate how quickly USTR will respond to this bold unilateral move by President Tsai. There is strong support for a BTA within Congress, as well as from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and State and from the National Security Council. The sticking point will be USTR, which has opposed expanded trade ties with Taiwan since at least 2016. They also place more importance on the China trade relationship, and falsely assume that they must choose between the two.”
Hammond-Chambers added that “A BTA between the US and Taiwan would be the kind of template agreement that the Trump Administration could highlight as a future platform for global trade engagement. It could include important new platforms for technology, particularly in the semiconductor industry, and for energy and healthcare collaboration. In addition, we would see improved market access for American manufacturers and agricultural producers. It would be a huge win for America.”
Statement on these changes by Taiwan President Tsai: https://english.president.gov.tw/News/6033
About the US-Taiwan Business Council:
The US-Taiwan Business Council (www.us-taiwan.org) is a membership-based non-profit organization, founded in 1976 to foster trade and business relations between the United States and Taiwan. The Council provides its members with business intelligence, offers access to an extensive network of relationships, and serves as a vital and effective representative in dealing with business, trade, and investment matters.