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AmCham calls for US-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement

Members upbeat about Taiwan's economic prospects in 2021

Taiwan, US flags. (Getty Images photo)

Taiwan, US flags. (Getty Images photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — American businesses in Taiwan are optimistic about the economic prospects of the year ahead as they anticipate the two countries moving forward with a bilateral trade agreement (BTA).

Nearly 86 percent of American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (AmCham Taiwan) members expressed confidence in Taiwan’s economic growth in 2021, according to the 2021 Business Climate Survey released on Thursday (Jan. 21). Over 40 percent said they would increase employment in their Taiwan bases this year.

The poll found that 96 percent of respondents believe Taiwan has done an impressive job in curbing the spread of COVID-19, and 64 percent said government-pledged economic relief has been satisfactory. “This is the golden era for Taiwan,” said AmCham Taiwan President Leo Seewald at a press conference, urging the country to seize the opportunity to boost bilateral trade.

With Taiwan emerging as the ninth biggest trade partner of the United States, it is sensible that the two initiate negotiations on a BTA, according to Seewald. However, domestic issues will be at the top of the Biden administration's agenda, he reckoned.

This sentiment was echoed by National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫). He said the new U.S. president is likely to focus on the pandemic, bailout measures, green energy, and racial justice before addressing external trade affairs, wrote CNA.

The Business Climate Survey was conducted between Nov. 12 and Dec. 31, 2020, collecting 200 valid questionnaires from a pool of 409 members. AmCham Taiwan has around 1,000 members from more than 500 companies.