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Taiwan firms access U.S. stimulus contracts

Taiwan begins WTO's government procurement accord, giving companies access to U.S. projects

Taiwan firms access U.S. stimulus contracts

Taiwanese computer makers Acer Inc. and Compal Electronics Inc. will have a leg up over Chinese and Indian competitors in winning U.S. economic stimulus contracts after Taiwan entered into a global purchasing agreement.
Taiwan began the World Trade Organization's government procurement accord yesterday, giving its suppliers of notebook computers, energy equipment and telecommunications parts access to U.S. projects, including US$787 billion in economic stimulus money. Without the accord, "Buy American" provisions of the stimulus package would have shut out Taiwanese companies.
"It opens up whole new opportunities to win government contracts," said Ted Posner, a lawyer at Crowell & Moring in Washington who specializes in global trade cases.
China, Brazil and India aren't part of the WTO procurement accord, limiting the involvement of companies in those nations from participating in U.S. stimulus projects. Taiwan had to agree to open up its US$20 billion in annual government contracts to companies from the 40 other nations that are part of the WTO procurement accord, including the U.S.
"This is a change for our companies," C.F. Chang, director of the economics division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative's office in Washington, said in an interview. "We know that the U.S. is the largest market."
AU Optronics Corp., Taiwan's largest flat-panel display maker, may also benefit from the accord.
Taiwan agreed to negotiate terms for the government procurement accord when it joined the WTO in 2001. Those negotiations were completed last year, an add-on agreement to the WTO rules governing tariffs and subsidies.
Helping Cisco
Being part of the agreement grew in importance this year as the U.S. Congress imposed a Buy American restriction on stimulus funding. Members of the procurement accord can supply projects under a compromise reached by lawmakers in February after companies in the U.S. that rely on foreign suppliers complained.
Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest networking equipment maker, and Alcatel-Lucent, the world's largest maker of fixed-line networks, petitioned for waivers from the Buy American provisions. The companies argued that the technology equipment they need to expand high-speed Internet access isn't available in the U.S. or the other 40 nations in the procurement accord.
Acer last year overtook Dell Inc. as the world's second-biggest notebook computer supplier shortly after buying Gateway Inc. in 2007.
It's second in size to Hewlett-Packard Co. Compal is the world's second-largest contract manufacturer of notebook computers, supplying products to Acer and Hewlett-Packard.


Updated : 2021-10-19 20:11 GMT+08:00