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US, Taiwan To Collaborate Under Pacific Bridge Initiative

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

02 November 2012

The United States and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), both of which are involved in trade promotion for their respective countries, have signed a letter of intent under the Pacific Bridge Initiative (PBI).

The PBI, which also involves Hong Kong and Singapore, aims to facilitate US businesses in exploring new markets in Asia, in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and the new letter of intent was signed on October 31, 2012, by TAITRA Chairman Wang Chih-kang and the US Under-Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, who was visiting Taiwan.

It is intended that USFCS and TAITRA will now work closely together to promote bilateral trade ties and, in particular, collaboration between small and medium-sized enterprises that are new to trading in foreign markets.

The aim of the new agreement is for Taiwan to promote itself as a regional commercial hub and a gateway to China for US companies, but also to provide further impetus towards to a restart of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations between the two sides.

The Taiwanese government has recently been emphasizing the hope that talks could be resumed under the TIFA as soon as possible, and the development of economic and trade relations with the US put back on track after they were suspended in 2007, following a Taiwanese ban on certain beef imports from the US.

All efforts since then to restart an economic and trade cooperation dialogue under the TIFA’s auspices have foundered. However, since the Taiwanese parliament recently passed an amendment to the Food Sanitation Management Act, which will effectively lift the ban, the US and Taiwan have been engaged in exploratory work (such as the Sanchez visit and the USFCS/TAITRA letter of intent) to prepare for future engagement under the TIFA umbrella.

TAGS: business | law | trade treaty | Taiwan | agreements | small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) | United States | trade

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