Background

The U.S. and Taiwan announced Aug. 17 that they have reached a consensus on the negotiating mandate for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade announced June 1, with the first round of talks expected to take place early this fall.

For more information on U.S. trade negotiations and how your company could benefit, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative notes that the two sides have adopted a robust agenda for negotiations on trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, strong anticorruption standards, enhancing trade between small and medium enterprises, deepening agriculture trade, removing discriminatory barriers to trade, digital trade, robust labor and environmental standards, as well as ways to address distortive practices of state-owned enterprises and non-market policies and practices.

Trade areas to be addressed during the negotiations are as follows.

Trade Facilitation. Harnessing best practices with respect to facilitating trade, including through the adoption of provisions that address (1) enhanced publication and transparency requirements, (2) the reduction of border formalities, (3) digitalization of trade facilitation measures, (4) paperless trade and the submission of advance electronic data, (5) goods vulnerable to deterioration, (6) release of goods, returned goods, and express shipments, (7) protection of trader information, and (8) customs cooperation.

Good Regulatory Practices. Adopting provisions that support sound and transparent regulatory practices, including (1) timely online accessibility to information about regulations and regulatory processes, (2) adequate time and meaningful opportunities for public consultations and consideration of comments, and (3) ensuring that regulatory decisions are based on high quality information, science, and evidence. With respect to services, adopting provisions that build on the understanding reached in the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation.

Anticorruption. Adopting strong anticorruption standards to prevent and combat bribery and other forms of corruption, including provisions that (1) preclude the tax deductibility of bribes, (2) establish measures regarding the recovery of proceeds of corruption, and (3) deny a safe haven for foreign public officials who engage in corruption.

SMEs. Supporting and enhancing U.S.-Taiwan small- and medium-sized enterprise trade through the adoption of provisions that involve (1) collaborating to identify and overcome barriers to trade for SMEs, (2) focusing on trade facilitation and information sharing for SMEs, (3) sharing and promoting best practices, and (4) working together on activities to promote and support SMEs, including those owned by underrepresented groups and women entrepreneurs as well as those in disadvantaged communities.

Agriculture. Adopting provisions to facilitate agricultural trade through science- and risk-based decision making, sound and transparent regulatory practices, and provisions to support collaborative and cooperative mechanisms on food security and the use of production practices, including new and innovative technologies that increase agricultural productivity while decreasing land, water, and fuel use and help contribute to climate adaptation and resiliency.

Standards. Collaborating on standards, including by considering approaches toward the preparation, adoption, and application of standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment processes, and trade barriers.

Digital Trade. Advancing outcomes in digital trade that benefit workers, consumers, and businesses (including SMEs), through the adoption of provisions that (1) build consumer trust in the digital economy, (2) promote access to information, (3) facilitate the use of digital technologies, (4) promote resilient and secure digital infrastructure, (5) address discriminatory practices in the digital economy, and (6) promote cooperation on competition policy.

Labor. Adopting provisions that (1) support the protection of internationally recognized labor rights – including the elimination of forced labor – in global supply chains, (2) increase opportunities for worker voice and public engagement in implementing trade policy, (3) account for the role and responsibilities of the business community in helping to ensure the protection of workers’ rights through a focus on corporate accountability, and (4) reflect more durable and inclusive trade policies that demonstrate that trade can be a force for good by creating more opportunities for people and promoting gender equity and equality across the U.S. and Taiwan.

Environment. Deepening bilateral cooperation and joint approaches on trade and the environment, including through the adoption of provisions that (1) promote green businesses, green jobs, and decarbonization, (2) take measures to strengthen and promote environmental protections (including natural resource conservation), and tackle pressing environmental challenges such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, and (3) establish mechanisms for exchanging relevant information, as needed.

SOEs. Addressing the significant distortions that can occur to international trade and investment from the nonmarket practices of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises and government designated monopolies, including through the adoption of provisions designed to create a level playing field for workers and businesses when competing against these entities in the international marketplace and 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. Adopting provisions that promote collaboration on ways to address harmful non-market policies and practices.

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