Background

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi and Taiwan Minister-Without-Portfolio John Deng on June 1 launched the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, which is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the bilateral economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses.

According to a USTR press release, the two sides will work to develop an “ambitious roadmap for negotiations for reaching agreements with high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes” in a number of areas, including the following:

- best practices to facilitate trade, including accelerated implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, adopting provisions on digitalization of trade facilitation measures, and ensuring inclusivity in accessing customs procedures

- electronic payments, risk management, protection of trader information, and support for small and medium enterprises’ access to technology used for the clearance of goods

- sound and transparent regulatory practices, including timely online accessibility to information about regulations and regulatory processes, adequate time for public consultations and consideration of comments, and regulatory decisions based on high quality information, science, and evidence, as well as transparency and good governance in services

- facilitation of agricultural trade through science and risk-based decision making and through the adoption of sound and transparent regulatory practices

- strong anti-corruption standards to prevent and combat bribery and corruption and provisions to 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

- trade barriers faced by SMEs, including trade facilitation for SMEs, sharing and promoting best practices, and cooperation on activities to promote and support SMEs

- building consumer trust in the digital economy, promoting access to information, facilitating the use of digital technologies, promoting a resilient and secure digital infrastructure, and addressing discriminatory and trade-distortive practices in the digital economy

- more durable and inclusive trade policies and support for the protection of labor rights, including the elimination of forced labor in global supply chains

- promoting decarbonization consistent with COP26 outcomes, exchanging information, and supporting businesses, green jobs, and the growth of low-carbon economies

- provisions consistent with a shared view that the preparation, adoption, and application of standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures should be non-discriminatory, should not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and should serve legitimate policy objectives

- fostering a level playing field for workers and businesses when competing against state-owned and state-controlled enterprises and government designated monopolies in the international marketplace

- ways to address harmful non-market policies and practices

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