US-Taiwan Business Council urges Washington to sign BTA

Taiwan eases restrictions on US meat imports in hope of deepening bilateral trade partnership

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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (right) met with U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Chairman Michael Splinter last year. 

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (right) met with U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Chairman Michael Splinter last year.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lotta Danielsson, vice president of the non-profit U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, is urging Washington to sign a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) with Taipei after Taiwan announced its decision to remove age restrictions on U.S. pork and beef imports.

In an opinion piece published by Nikkei Asian Review on Tuesday (Sept. 1), Danielsson pointed out that the Taiwanese government has removed the main barriers to closer trade links with the U.S. despite backlash from opposition politicians and local farmers. She said the move signifies Taiwan's readiness to establish high-standard trade agreements with the U.S. and that Washington should capitalize on the opportunity to deepen economic cooperation between the two countries.

Danielsson stressed that there has been increasing support of a Taiwan BTA from members of the U.S. House of Representatives and that the TAIPEI Act passed by Congress also encouraged the pursuit of business opportunities with Taiwan. She said that several U.S. policy think tanks are also in favor of a Taiwan trade agreement.

Danielsson mentioned that a BTA would benefit the U.S. by giving Taiwan, its 9th largest trading partner, a more important role in strategic sectors in the Indo-Pacific region. She added that Taiwanese companies' semiconductor manufacturing is vital to the global technology supply chain and could help open new business opportunities for American technology companies.

Meanwhile, Danielsson noted that Taiwan may be forced to further its economic partnership with China if it fails to accomplish deeper ties with other countries. She pointed out that an increased Chinese influence in the Taiwanese market could potentially damage U.S. interests; therefore, a BTA with Washington will allow the country to be less economically dependent on China.