On June 1, 2022, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, which is “intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses.” Under the initiative, the two parties will seek to reach agreements “with high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes” in the following trade areas:
- Trade facilitation – including accelerated implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, adopting provisions on digitalization of trade facilitation measures, and ensuring inclusivity in accessing customs procedures.
- Regulatory practices – including timely online accessibility to information about regulations and processes, providing adequate time for public consultations and consideration of comments, and ensuring that regulatory decisions are based on high quality information, science and evidence.
- Agriculture – including provisions to facilitate agricultural trade through science and risk-based decision-making and through the adoption of sound, transparent regulatory practices.
- Anti-corruption – including provisions that preclude the tax deductibility of bribes and establish measures regarding the recovery of proceeds of corruption and the denial of a safe haven for foreign public officials who engage in corruption.
- Supporting SMEs in trade – including efforts to identify and overcome barriers to trade for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), focusing on trade facilitation for SMEs, sharing and promoting best practices, and working together on activities to promote and support SMEs, including those owned by under-represented groups and women entrepreneurs and those in disadvantaged communities.
- Harnessing the benefits of digital trade – including efforts to build consumer trust in the digital economy, promoting access to information, facilitating use of digital technologies, promoting resilient and secure digital infrastructure, and addressing discriminatory and trade-distortive practices in the digital economy.
- Promoting worker-centric trade – including efforts to develop more durable and inclusive trade policies, protecting labor rights, and eliminating forced labor in global supply chains.
- Supporting the environment and climate action – including promoting decarbonizing economies, exchanging information, and supporting businesses, green jobs and the growth of low-carbon economies.
- Standards – including the adoption and application of standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures that are non-discriminatory, do not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and serve legitimate policy objectives.
- State-owned enterprises – including developing provisions to create a level playing field for workers and businesses when competing against these entities in the international marketplace by ensuring that these entities act in a commercial manner, are regulated impartially, and do not provide or receive trade-distorting non-commercial assistance.
- Non-market policies and practices – including collaboration on ways to address these harmful non-market policies and practices.
The first meeting of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade is expected to occur later this month.