Lobbying for a “U.S.-Taiwan FTA” in the U.S. Congress: Which “Fast Track”? What Target?
Since 2002, despite persistent lobbying efforts from Taiwan to promote a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the U.S. government remains insistent that Taiwan should focus on liberalizing its economy under the “Trade and Investment Framework Agreement” (TIFA). From the U.S. perspective, TIFA offers a “building block” for a future U.S.-Taiwan FTA. Under TIFA, the United States suggests that the two sides complete negotiations on a bilateral government procurement agreement, a bilateral investment agreement, and an agreement to avoid double taxation, so as to pave the way for the FTA. From the Taiwanese perspective, TIFA is merely a consolation prize for not having a U.S.-Taiwan FTA, even though Taiwanese officials have generally agreed to pursue this building block approach under TIFA. Moreover, since 2002, because of an acceleration of regional integration in East Asia in the form of signing bilateral FTAs, there has been serious “competitive liberalization” pressure on Taiwan to negotiate FTAs with its major trade partners. Not only would a U.S.-Taiwan FTA benefit the industries of both, but it would also provide a positive example to those who might fear retaliation from China, encouraging them to follow suit.1 Therefore, “lobbying beyond TIFA” so as to put a “U.S.-Taiwan FTA” on the U.S. trade negotiation agenda has always been a most important foreign policy objective for Taiwan.
KeywordsTrade Policy Trade Agreement Fast Track Free Trade Agreement Veto Player
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