On October 21, The Chamber welcomed Minister without Portfolio, Chen-Chun Deng (John) to give his perspective on the “US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade in the Global Economic Landscape.” AmCham Taiwan was honored and excited to receive an update on this pivotal topic directly from Taiwan’s lead trade negotiator, and Minister Deng did not disappoint. This Initiative will have the potential to be developed as the first true Free Trade Agreement between the US and Taiwan during his influential career – a development he’s “been waiting 30 years for.”
After a lovely lunch from our hosts at the Mandarin Oriental, Chairman Vincent Shih welcomed Minister Deng to the stage. He expressed the Chamber’s gratitude for the Minister’s continued support and cooperation in our mutual objectives.
Deng then gave a light-hearted overview of the developing free trade agreement (FTA) from the viewpoint of him and his colleagues. A theme of his address was the importance of the US-Taiwan Initiative for his office. Several factors – such as ineffectual multilateral organizations and integration into the global economy – put a lot of weight into these negotiations.
Another consideration for the ongoing discussion between Deng and his counterparts is, of course, cross-strait relations and US-China tensions. Non-Market Policies and Practices, a phrasing not seen in any other trade agreements, incorporates the U.S. focus on identifying gaps in existing enforcement tools and develop new tools to address such practices, as well as moving away from reliance on State Owned Enterprises. Another difficulty the Minster highlighted was the agriculture sector, which can be a sensitive political issue that requires careful consideration.
Overall, his words for AmCham members were positive and optimistic. His aim is to treat traders better, by clarifying rules and shortening international trade procedures. He hopes to issue advanced rulings for new products, so that companies will not be delayed at customs waiting for them to be classified. “The business community should be very happy,” Deng said, in a joking manner, “and civil servants should be very worried.” He explained that processes need to be improved and the private sector should be given a role in reforming regulations. “This will be good for the country. We need to be more open and transparent.”
Minister Deng ended his address by thanking AmCham Taiwan and our members for our efforts in moving the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative forward. Through AmCham’s doorknocks in D.C., we were influential in encouraging Congress to lend its support to the FTA. “AmCham has a very strong voice (that) needs to be continued and expanded. Thank you AmCham, for your help.”
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