The first U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership (EPP) Dialogue has identified the semiconductor industry as the two countries' top priority in economic cooperation, according to Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) on Saturday (Nov. 21).
Deng, who is in charge of the unprecedented high-level talks held in Washington D.C. this week, said both sides have confirmed that strategic cooperation in the semiconductor industry is a priority, given its potential to generate significant and long-term benefits for both economies. Deng was speaking at a press conference after the 9-hour discussions that concluded at 3 a.m. Saturday (Taipei time).
The fact that the world's biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), will invest in the U.S. has laid the foundation for bilateral cooperation in this field, added Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花), who joined Deng and other officials in the talks through video conference from Taipei. In the future, both sides will capitalize on Taiwan's competitive advantage in high-end manufacturing and the U.S.' leading role in the industry, Wang said.
In addition, she said, Taiwan and the U.S. will cooperate on medical, energy, and other critical technology supply chains. However, Deng said the talk, conducted through both virtual and physical meetings, with the latter held in Washington and joined by Deputy Economics Minister Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺), did not touch on issues related to a possible bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
The BTA, which has received much attention recently, will be discussed through a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) platform, Deng explained.
The EPP Dialogue also generated a memorandum of understanding (MOU)—signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.—that will lay the groundwork for future high-level annual EPP Dialogues, said Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).
"There will be institutionalized government-to-government economic talks that will continue regardless of administration change," Wu said.
The MOU took effect upon signing and will last for five years, he explained, adding that it could be extended if both sides agree. The U.S. Department of State issued a statement on Saturday saying the EPP Dialogue, led by the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, will promote future cooperation and help strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship.
It will "further magnify the two societies' respect for democracy, and strengthen our shared commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and freedom," the memorandum said.