Officials in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta believe a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan would benefit Georgia exporters, Stephen Chang, the office’s press director, told GlobalAtlanta.

A free trade agreement negotiated by the U.S. and Korea April 2 is predicted to generate export opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service suppliers. An agreement with Taiwan would offer the same benefits, Mr. Chang said, citing an economic analysis that showed U.S. exports to Taiwan could grow by as much as $6.6 billion annually under a free trade pact.

“A U.S.-Taiwan FTA offers clear economic benefits for both parties and would have impact locally, since Taiwan has important trade ties to agricultural and industrial interests in Georgia and the rest of the Southeast,” Mr. Chang said in a letter.

An FTA would increase opportunities for broader economic cooperation in other sectors as well, he added, noting that American and Taiwanese companies have already been collaborating in the electronics and information technology sectors. Logistics and supply chain industries would also benefit, he said.

A U.S.-Taiwan FTA could help “level the playing field” if Taiwan is disadvantaged by the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which could divert U.S. trade from Taiwan to Korea, Mr. Chang said.

Trade flows between the U.S. and Taiwan were already $61 billion last year, he noted. The U.S. exported $23 billion in goods to and imported $38 billion from Taiwan in 2006, while investing $883 million into the country’s economy.

Nonetheless, the U.S. is already Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner, after Japan and mainland China. And Taiwan was the U.S.’ ninth-largest trading partner and the fifth-largest destination for agricultural exports in 2006, he added.

Two-way investment has also been substantial, he said. In 2006, the U.S. invested $883 million in the Taiwanese economy, and Taiwan invested $485 million in the U.S.

The U.S. has been Taiwan’s largest foreign investor, investing $14.1 billion between 1952 and 2004. Taiwan invested some $8.4 billion in the U.S. over the same period, according to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

The Georgia General Assembly has already endorsed a U.S.-Taiwan FTA proposal along with 24 other states, the Council of State Governments and the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office – Stephen Chang (404) 532-1940