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Statement by Ambassador Michael Punke at the WTO Trade Policy Review of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei)
World Trade Organization
September 16, 2014
*For The Record*
Thank you, Chair. The United States is pleased to welcome Vice Minister Cho and the other members of the Chinese Taipei delegation to the third Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Chinese Taipei. We would also like to express our appreciation to the WTO Secretariat and the authorities of Chinese Taipei for the reports provided in advance of this meeting, as well as to the discussant, Ambassador Winzap, for his contribution to this review.
The current Trade Policy Review of Chinese Taipei by WTO Members fittingly coincides with the undertaking of a domestic trade policy review conducted by Chinese Taipei authorities. On January 1, 2014, President Ma Ying-Jeou addressed his people to explain the vital importance that trade plays in the Chinese Taipei economy. And as the Secretariat notes in its report, Chinese Taipei places a great value on trade as 73 percent of its GDP comes from exports. This year, Chinese Taipei has continued to play an active role in WTO multilateral and plurilateral trade negotiations, explored potential engagement in new bilateral and regional trade liberalization initiatives, and begun to proactively take action designed to bring Chinese Taipei’s trade policies in line with its goals.
The United States and Chinese Taipei continue to have strong and diverse trade and investment ties. Chinese Taipei is currently the United States’ 12th largest goods trading partner with $63 billion in total two-way trade. U.S.-Chinese Taipei services trade remains strong, with a total of $19 billion in two-way trade in 2012. Important U.S. exports to Chinese Taipei include machinery, electrical machinery, and aircraft. Chinese Taipei also is an important agricultural market for U.S. farmers, who exported $3.1 billion in 2013, making Chinese Taipei the United States’ 7th largest agricultural export market.
Chinese Taipei has been an active and positive partner in multilateral and plurilateral trade liberalization initiatives. Since 2010, Chinese Taipei has positively participated in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and has implemented its commitments under the revised GPA. Chinese Taipei was also an active and constructive voice in WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement negotiations, and continues to participate actively in ongoing negotiations including the Information Technology Agreement and Trade in Services Agreement. And at APEC, Chinese Taipei joined the United States and 13 other economies to support the negotiations on an Environmental Goods Agreement.
The United States commends Chinese Taipei on strong efforts it has made over the past four years to liberalize its trade and investment regime and further integrate with the global economy. For instance, beginning in 2013, Chinese Taipei has implemented important legal reforms to improve its trade secrets enforcement regime. Proposed amendments intended to reduce regulatory reviews and to increase transparency in the process for reviewing foreign investment into Chinese Taipei are currently pending legislative review. Chinese Taipei’s Financial Services Commission has played an important role in welcoming foreign investment by lifting data localization requirements for financial institutions such as banks. Chinese Taipei also implemented regulatory changes in 2014 that brought its technical standards into compliance with international norms in certain industries.
While Chinese Taipei has reason to be pleased with the results of its efforts to date, the United States would like to highlight several areas that we believe need greater attention. Although it established a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine in beef muscle cuts in 2012, Chinese Taipei has not set an MRL for ractopamine in pork and other beef products despite the Codex Alimentarius (Codex) adoption of MRLs for ractopamine in these products. Further, Chinese Taipei maintains unpredictable policies that impede the importation of rice, organic products, and other products.
In other areas, the United States observes a need for more continued progress by Chinese Taipei in improving the transparency and predictability of the investment review process. On intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, the United States urges Chinese Taipei to devote more resources and create new incentives for enforcement authorities to investigate intellectual property crimes and develop new tools to deal with infringement made possible by new technologies and taking place on or near university campuses. Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers continue to face challenges, including delays in introducing new products to the market, non-transparent pricing and reimbursement policies, and weaker IP protection than in comparable markets. As Chinese Taipei revises sectoral laws and regulations, industries regularly find Chinese Taipei’s regulations to be more onerous than other economies, which can prevent or delay products from being introduced to consumers. The United States encourages Chinese Taipei to more thoroughly examine international standards and avoid creating technical barriers to trade that discourage imports and investment. We also encourage Chinese Taipei to notify under Article XXIV its Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China.
The United States is heartened by statements made this year by Chinese Taipei’s leadership to encourage Chinese Taipei to proactively liberalize its trade and investment regime. For Chinese Taipei to meet its ambitious trade and investment goals, these statement must be backed up with swift and concrete action. The United States welcomes the early fruits of these efforts and will continue to engage with Chinese Taipei across the many forums and initiatives that we have established in order to further break down trade barriers and strengthen our economic ties.
In closing, we look forward to reviewing and discussing Chinese Taipei’s responses to our advanced written questions. Thank you.