MOEA seeks stronger Taiwan-US business ties

Taiwan and the U.S. should forge a bilateral investment agreement and bolster economic cooperation for the benefit of firms from both sides, said Francis Kuo-hsin Liang, deputy ROC economics minister.

“We hope to work with our U.S. counterparts on concluding a pact centered around investment promotion and protection, as well as opening new markets,” Liang said. “Such an agreement will help both sides fulfill their economic potential.”

Liang made the remarks while addressing the SelectUSA business forum Nov. 13 in Taipei City.

According to the deputy minister, the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) is helping position Taiwan as a regional trade hub and U.S. firms should use the country as a springboard to access the Asian and Greater China markets.

“The two countries should also tap each other’s strengths in manufacturing, marketing and R&D to increase their shares of the global market,” Liang said. “This can be achieved through a Taiwan-U.S. free trade agreement.”

Liang believes concluding an FTA with Taipei should be a top priority for Washington given Taiwan is the U.S.’s 10th largest trade partner. “This is a fact we are constantly bringing to the attention of the American government,” he said.

Although signing an investment and trade pact with the U.S. is key goal for the ROC government, Liang acknowledged that it will not happen in the near-term due to the complexity of the undertaking and expected changes to U.S. economics officials following the elections.

Separately, AIT Director Christopher J. Marut praised strong Taiwan-U.S. economic relations, acknowledging the role of Taiwan investment over the years in boosting American economic growth and prosperity. Last year, Taiwan’s direct investment in the U.S. was US$5.2 billion, creating 13,000 jobs, he added.

Marut also said Taiwan’s admission to the U.S. Visa Waver Program will enhance the attractiveness of the U.S. market to Taiwan investors.

“Investing in the United States brings benefits to Taiwan’s economy and delivers win-win scenarios in the form of expanded access to new markets for Taiwan firms,” he said.

Rachel Chan