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CPTPP: The Challenges for Taiwan

Following the U.S. withdrawal from the embryonic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) soon after Donald Trump’s inauguration as President, the other 11 TPP countries decided to maintain the multilateral trade agreement under the revised name of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

As a major trading economy, Taiwan hopes to be able to join the CPTPP when the pact is formally established and opens membership to more countries in a second round. Currently the CPTPP signatories are still in the process of seeking ratification from their various parliaments.

Da-Nien Liu, research fellow at the Regional Development Study Center of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) and an expert on regional trade agreements, shared his insights on “The CPTPP: The Challenges for Taiwan” with AmCham Taipei members and guests on May 24 at the  Chamber’s Lincoln Room.  Liu is also a former Deputy Secretary General of the National Security Council during the Ma Ying-jeou administration.

Liu noted that Taiwan will feel an economic impact from CPTPP whether or not it is able to participate in the agreement. If allowed to secure membership, Taiwan will need to liberalize its import regime, which would likely affect the domestic agricultural sector and certain industries. If Taiwan is excluded from CPTPP, the impact would be even greater, affecting the country’s markets in such sectors as plastics, iron and steel (and their products), electrochemical equipment, and auto parts.

The “China Factor” will be a major challenge for Taiwan, Liu said, as Beijing may try to pressure CPTPP members not to admit Taiwan or to block Taiwan’s accession until after China joins the group. Another prospective challenge might be the “down-payment” problem, as CPTPP member countries would likely expect Taiwan to resolve any outstanding trade disputes with them during bilateral talks preceding Taiwan’s entry into the agreement.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Commerce Department Officials Call at AmCham

Ian Paul Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing in U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, exchanged views with AmCham Taipei representatives during an hour-long meeting in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on March 22 as part of his six-day visit to Taiwan. Steff was joined by two colleagues: International Trade Specialist Kyle Johnson and Devin A. Horne, Civil Nuclear Trade Specialist.

The AmCham attendees included President William Foreman, Standing Vice Chairman Leo Seewald, Vice Chairman Vincent Shih, Governor Edward Shober, President Wayne Chin and Vice President Richard T.C. Chen of Pacific Engineers & Constructors, Senior Director Don Shapiro, and Senior Director for Government and Public Affairs Amy Chang. Ireas Cook, chief of the Commercial Section at the American Institute in Taiwan, and Mark Lewis, the deputy chief, also attended.

Steff said the U.S. government sees many economic opportunities in Taiwan because of the numerous mutual interests, including such sectors as biotech, energy, and the Internet of Things.

2017 Trade Secrets Act Forum

Taiwan has had Trade Secrets legislation on the books since 1996, but the law has been strengthened substantially in recent years in response to the increased number of cases of theft of confidential commercial information.

On December 6, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee and Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee jointly sponsored a seminar at the Westin Taipei to review the latest trends in trade secrets protection. Specialist Chen Hsin-ru (陳信儒) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office opened the session with a definition of what constitutes a Trade Secret, followed by describing the detailed steps involved in filing a lawsuit if one’s trade secretshave been infringed upon.

Citing real-life cases as examples, Prosecutor Liu Yi-jun (劉怡君) from the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office shared the process of investigation, including what evidence was required and what could help reinforce a case, as well as what corporations can do to prevent the violation of trade secrets. Special Investigator Pan Ji-xiang (潘季翔) from New Taipei City’s Investigation Bureau concluded the discourse with enforcement and litigation statistics.

From left to right: Speaker Special Investigator Pan of the New Taipei City Investigation Bureau; Speaker Specialist Chen of the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office; Speaker Prosecutor Liu of the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office; and AmCham IP&L Committee co-chair Peter J. Dernbach of the Winkler Partners law firm.

During the Q&A session, attendees raised numerous questions about the coverage of the Act and its enforcement. This seminar helped build a communications bridge between the business and law enforcement communities in the hope of enhancing regulative efficiency and strengthening the protection of valuable intellectual properties.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

TPP Insights from Washington DC

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Most of the reporting from the United States these days paints a bleak picture of the prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement to be ratified by Congress. But at AmCham Taipei’s “TPP: Insights from Washington D.C.” luncheon event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on September 13, the speakers cautioned the audience “don’t believe everything you read.”

Speaking were Wendy Cutler, formerly the lead U.S. negotiator for TPP and now vice president and managing director of the Washington office of the Asia Society Policy Institute, and Tami Overby, senior vice president, Asia, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Although there is heightened anxiety in the United States about the country’s economic future, with trade often unfairly blamed for the loss of manufacturing jobs, polls show that a majority of Americans still support free trade in general and the TPP in particular, Cutler said. Given the high priority that President Obama has attached to TPP passage, and the continued support from most of the Congressional leadership, she said she expects ratification to occur during the lame duck session of Congress that follows the November elections.

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Citing the importance of TPP as a high-standard trade pact that will bring economic benefits while also bolstering American leadership in Asia, Overby quoted Winston Churchill as saying “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

Cutler urged the Taiwan government not to wait, but to proceed to undertake reforms to prepare to be considered for TPP entry in a second round. She noted that investors are already beginning to think in terms of a post-TPP world, choosing to locate their investments in TPP economies because of the strong IPR and legal protections.

Among the special guests at the luncheon were Minister without Portfolio John Deng, who is in charge of Taiwan’s efforts to become TPP-ready; Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Jen-ni Yang; Chairman Francis Liang of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA); Connie Chang, Director General of the Department of Overall Planning at the National Development Council; and Jeff Horwitz, chief of the Economic Section at the American Institute in Taiwan.

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