AmCham’s DoorKnock mission promotes bilateral investment agreement talks

A delegation represented by members of American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) visited Washington DC recently; the delegation urged U.S. government officials and lawmakers to support the launch of negotiations with Taiwan on a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) as a step toward eventual membership for Taiwan in the U.S.-led and emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade bloc.

During AmCham’s annual Doorknock mission, it stressed the importance of bolstering U.S. economic and commercial ties with Taiwan, the 12th largest trading partner of the U.S. in 2013. AmCham emphasized that the Taiwan government in the past half year has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalization and to bringing its regulatory standard in line with international practices, which was noted in the recently-published 2014 Taiwan White Paper.

Co-led by former Chamber Chairman Alan Eusden and Chamber President Andrea Wu, the delegation of 22 members representing a wide range of industries including high-tech manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and services visited to the U.S. from June 16 to 20. The delegation also visited more than 40 offices ranging from government agencies, think tanks, and organizations that have been following U.S.-Taiwan economic relations.

In this trip, AmCham found a much more positive atmosphere toward Taiwan. “In addition to the ongoing bilateral discussions under TIFA, we heard that close cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. is also underway on various multilateral trade initiatives, including efforts under the WTO to advance a Trade in Service Agreement,” said Eusden.

“Given the positive change of attitude and significant progress on the part of the Taiwan authorities, we believe the time is right for the U.S. to proceed with exploratory consultations with Taiwan on the feasibility of a BIA,” noted Andrea Wu. “Negotiating BIA would be an effective way to address non-tariff barriers to trade and investments and to spur more investment in both directions.”