Tsai prioritizes trade agreement talks with US

President Tsai Ing-wen said at the annual American Chamber of Commerce dinner banquet March 22 in Taipei City that Taiwan and the U.S. should prioritize discussions and negotiations on a new bilateral trade agreement.

In response to the U.S. government's America First Foreign Policy, Tsai said Taiwan is sending its largest ever delegation to SelectUSA Investment Summit in June, and is organizing an agricultural group in September to cement the country's status as one of the biggest importers of U.S. agricultural products.

Taiwan and the U.S. enjoy a deep friendship that has endured the test of time, she said. This is not only because we share many of the same values, but we have also forged through decades of cooperation a high-level mutual trust as partners.

According to the president, Taiwan and the U.S. share joint responsibilities and common interests in terms of development and security in the Asia-Pacific. The support of the U.S. in defending Taiwan in the 1950s, the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 and ongoing arms sales played a key role in stabilizing the Taiwan Strait and enabling peace and prosperity to take hold throughout the region, she said.

This also created the conditions for Taiwan to become an economic powerhouse and a beacon of freedom and democracy, Tsai said, adding that the country is indebted for this backing and shoulders the responsibility of playing a more constructive role in the Asia-Pacific.

The president said robust economic exchanges are a cornerstone of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship, citing bilateral trade of US$85 billion last year, with the U.S. the leading destination for local exports and the country's second largest trading partner.

But it is not all one-way traffic, Tsai said. Taiwan trade and investment has created more than 350,000 job opportunities in the U.S. and positioned the country as the 15th biggest external job creator globally for the U.S. and the sixth largest in Asia, she added.

According to the president, the government is revitalizing Taiwan's economy and fast-tracking industrial transformation through the five-plus-two innovative industries initiative, with the Cabinet set to announce later this week the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Program to expand domestic demand and upgrade Taiwan's international competitiveness.

These undertakings offer great opportunities for Taiwan and U.S. firms, Tsai said, adding that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has identified automobile components, petrochemicals, semiconductors, smart machinery, steel and textiles as the basis for further trade exchanges between the two countries.

According to the president, Taiwan is ready to assume a greater role in maintaining international peace and security through greater investment in national defense, especially in the areas of aerospace, cybersecurity and indigenous submarine development.

In response, American Institute in Taiwan Director Kin Moy said the U.S. is firmly committed to Taiwan, with cooperation on regional and global priorities remaining a pillar of the bilateral relationship.

Moy said Taiwan and the U.S. have already made joint efforts to address some of the concerns identified by the U.S. government's Trade Policy Agenda, especially intellectual property rights�an issue on which they recently signed a memorandum of understanding on combating related infringements and trade fraud crimes.

All joint efforts will help the two sides promote their shared values regionally and internationally, he added.

Source: Taiwan Today