The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has released summaries of agreement texts the U.S. proposed during the first negotiating round of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade. Taiwanese officials are reportedly pushing to complete an agreement by the end of 2023.

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

The two sides launched the initiative in June 2022  after the U.S. left Taiwan out of the Indo-Pacific Economic Partnership due to concerns about how its inclusion might be received in China. In August officials announced a negotiating mandate envisioning high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes in areas such as trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, small and medium-sized enterprises, agriculture, standards, digital trade, labor and environment, state-owned enterprises, and non-market policies and practices.

Highlights of the provisions included in the texts the U.S. exchanged with Taiwanese negotiators Jan. 14-17 include the following.

Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation

- online posting of all laws, regulations, and procedures, and all customs forms, related to the import, export, and transit of goods

- processing pre-arrival information and assessing it for risk through a single window with a view toward immediate release of goods for which all regulatory requirements have been met

- reduced restrictions on express consignment shipments and facilitating the return of goods across borders

- limited use of consular transactions for cross-border shipments

- reduced formalities for containers

- border agencies required to accept electronic payment of duties, taxes, and fees

- penalty disciplines designed to ensure transparency and fairness

- protections for confidential business information

- enforcement cooperation to ensure that borders are being used for legitimate trade and facilitate weeding out illicit trade and other customs offenses

Good Regulatory Practices

- publishing draft regulations and allowing adequate time for comments to be considered

- guidance or mechanisms by regulatory authorities on using the best available information and data when planning regulatory actions

- stakeholder opportunity to request issuance, modification, or repeal of regulations if change is justified due to technological changes, new information, or new standards

- expanded online access to relevant information, including registries of existing laws and the procedural requirements of regulatory authorities

- transparency relating to the functioning and outputs of expert advisors

Services Domestic Regulation

- laws and regulations are transparent and regulators are independent of the industries they oversee

- regulators inform applicants of the requirements to obtain a license to supply services in a given sector, provide a fair opportunity for them to demonstrate that they meet those requirements, and decide whether to issue a license in a reasonable period of time

- special rules to preserve regulators’ ability to protect the stability of the financial system

- regulators encouraged to continue experimenting with new technologies to make the process of license application easier

- high degree of fairness and transparency in all sectors in which foreign service suppliers are permitted to operate (instead of an arbitrary set of sectors covered by formal WTO commitments)


- obligations to adopt or maintain measures to establish as criminal offenses the bribery of public officials, embezzlement, and money laundering

- requirements to maintain books and records to prevent the hiding of corruption

- tax deductibility of bribes prohibited

- measures for the seizure of assets derived from corruption

- procedures to report corruption and protect people who report it, including external auditors

- measures for the training of public officials, transparency and accountability of public officials, and reporting by public officials of any conflicts of interest and acts of corruption

- procedures for the possible removal of public officials charged or convicted of corruption


- exchange of information and best practices in areas such as promoting SME participation in international trade and improving SME access to capital and credit, training programs, trade education, trade finance, trade missions, and trade facilitation

- activities to promote SMEs owned by underserved and underrepresented groups, including women, indigenous people, youth, and minorities, as well as start-ups and agricultural and rural SMEs

- online, publicly-accessible information resources useful for SMEs trading, investing, or doing business in the U.S. and Taiwan (e.g., customs regulations and procedures, technical regulations, foreign investment regulations, business registration procedures, intellectual property rights, etc.)

- periodic SME dialogue that could consider small business trade opportunities and challenges between the two countries

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