:::

Introduction of Taiwan-U.S. TIFA


Ministry of Economic Affairs
 
I. A brief overview of Taiwan-US TIFA meetings
1.     The Taiwan-US “Trade and Investment Framework Agreement” (TIFA) was conceived in December 1992, when Ambassador Carla Hills paid a visit to Taiwan. The proposal for Taiwan and the US to sign the bilateral agreement was brought forward by the then-USTR during said visit. Subsequently, TIFA was signed into force on 19 September 1994 in Washington, D.C.
2.     TIFA is the most important channel for bilateral high-level economic and trade consultations between Taiwan and the US, while at the same time serves as a primary platform for bilateral trade dispute resolution, trade promotion, and investment cooperation.
3.     Through the TIFA meetings, dialogue platform and mechanism between Taiwan and US officials at the Director General-level were established, and substantive bilateral economic and trade cooperation relationships were promoted. Subsequently, TIFA was brought up to the deputy ministerial-level in 2004 when the fourth meeting was held. Taiwan-US TIFA meetings provide both sides with a platform to conduct high-level dialogue on major economic and trade policies, and carry a great significance with respect to bilateral economic and trade developments.
4.     Taiwan and the US have accomplished many achievements through the dialogue mechanism, such as promoting the US to support Taiwan’s efforts in accession to the WTO and in signing the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, enhancing Taiwan’s institution for protecting of intellectual property rights, and allowing related economic and trade systems of Taiwan to be in line with international standards.
 
II. A look on consultations in the TIFA meetings
Since the singing of TIFA in 1994, Taiwan and the US have held a total of six TIFA meetings, wherein the first TIFA was held on 6 March 1995, and the remaining meetings were held respectively in 1997, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Between 1999 and 2001, discussion primarily focused on Taiwan’s accession to the WTO and related legal system issues, for which technical meetings were held, thus obviating the need for convening a general meeting. Since 2008, however, TIFA meetings have been put into suspension due to issues related to US beef. (See Chart 1 for an overlook on all TIFA meetings)

1.   First TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 1995
(2)  Place: Washington, D.C.
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, Justin Yi-fu Lin, Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, and for the US, Robert Cassidy, Assistant USTR
(4)  Overview of the meeting:
The first meeting saw full discussions on Taiwan’s institution for protecting intellectual property rights, a request for US to support Taiwan’s participation in OECD activities, Taiwan-US customs cooperation, Taiwan-US interim ATA Carnet Cooperation, Taiwan-US environment and trade cooperation, and economic and trade issues related to Taiwan’s accession to the WTO, (including tariffs, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and finance). Subsequently, both sides completed in 1996 the signing of Bilateral Carnet Agreement between AIT and TECRO.

2.   Second TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 1997
(2)  Place: Taipei
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, Justin Yi-fu Lin, Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, and for the US, Lee Sands, Assistant USTR
(4) Overview of the meeting:
The meeting saw discussions on issues related to Taiwan’s accession to the WTO, comprising:
i. Negotiations on tariffs on goods (including tariff reduction negotiations on over 8,000 items of agricultural and industrial products) services market opening (a total of 122 service sectors);
ii. Review of the economic and trade systems of Taiwan for compliance with WTO regulations, comprising: institution for protecting intellectual property rights (including patents, trademarks, and copyrights), food safety inspection institution, animal and plant health inspection and quarantine institution, import licensing procedures, customs valuation, trade-related investment measurement institution, border inspection measures, pre-shipment inspection system, rules of origin, import licensing procedures, projects related to subsidies;
iii. Discussions on Taiwan’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and the Civil Aircraft Agreement, also the contents related to Taiwan’s WTO Accession Protocol and Working Group Report.

3.   Third TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 1998
(2)  Place: Washington, D.C.
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, Steve Ruey-long Chen, Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, and for the US, Robert Cassidy, Assistant USTR
(4)  Overview of the meeting:
Taiwan called upon the US to support its participation in the OECD. Both sides discussed issues of bilateral cooperation on consumer safety protection, Taiwan’s institution for protecting intellectual property rights, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) bidding dispute, export of Taiwan shrimp-products to the US, agricultural and industrial product market opening related to Taiwan’s accession to the WTO, limited import of rice, and telecommunications.
 
4.   Fourth TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 2004
(2)  Place: Washington, D.C.
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, Steve Ruey-long Chen, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and for the US, Josette Sheeran Shiner, Deputy USTR
(4)  Overview of the meeting:
Joint effort across relevant agencies of the Taiwan Government, TIFA dialogues were brought up to the deputy minister-level starting with the fourth TIFA meeting. In the meeting, Taiwan and the US had an extensive exchange of views on a switch by Taiwan at the WTO to a tariff quota system for rice imports, protection of intellectual property rights, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals. The US openly stated that Taiwan had gained substantive progress in terms of protection of intellectual property rights, and telecommunication liberalization.
 
5.   Fifth TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 2006
(2)  Place: Taipei
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, Steve Ruey-long Chen, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and for the US, Karan Bhatia, Deputy USTR and Ambassador. (Ambassador Karan Bhatia was the highest ranking US official to have visited Taiwan since 2000)
(4)  Overview of the meeting:
The meeting saw discussions between both sides on a new round of WTO negotiations, Asia-Pacific regional economic development and integration, Taiwan-US cooperation at APEC, and issues of Taiwan’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, agriculture, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, intellectual property rights, and trade security. Progress and consensus were achieved in several issues, and were listed as concrete results of the meeting. Overall, the US recognized that efforts made by relevant agencies of Taiwan Government allowed for concrete progress on issues such as agriculture, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, protection of intellectual property rights, and trade security. As for the unresolved problems, both sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation, and to actively seek for specific solutions.
 
6.   Sixth TIFA meeting
(1)  Year: 2007
(2)  Place: Washington, D.C.
(3)  Chief negotiators:
For Taiwan, John Chen-Chung Deng, Chief Negotiation Representative of the Office of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and for the US, Karan Bhatia, Deputy USTR and Ambassador.
(4)  Overview of the meeting:
The meeting saw the singing by both sides of the Memorandum of Understanding and Working Guidelines (工作規範) for the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Agriculture. (The Legislative Yuan has been notified in accordance with the “Regulations Governing the Processing of Treaties and Agreements”) Also, discussions were held on Taiwan-US bilateral trade relations, WTO Doha round of negotiations, agriculture, standards for pharmaceutical pricing and medical equipment, protection of intellectual property rights, and Taiwan’s participation in OECD. In addition, substantive discussions were held on “block building” issues including: negotiations for signing of a bilateral investment agreement, e-commerce cooperation agreement, and, relating to cargo security, Megaports initiative and Container Security Initiative.

Update: 2016-09-22
Go Back Top
Office of Trade Negotiations, Executive Yuan
3F.,No.25,Pao-Chin Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei 10043, Taiwan, ROC
    
The site has been optimized for monitors with over 1024x768 resolution, with window maximized.
Best browse supported with IE, Firefox and Chrome.
Government Website Open Information Announcement | Privacy Policy | Security Policy