Taiwanese businesses in US, Canada pitch for Taiwan's trade membership bid

04/03/2022 01:56 PM
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Delegation members of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America (TCCNA). CNA photo April 3, 2022
Delegation members of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America (TCCNA). CNA photo April 3, 2022

Washington, April 2 (CNA) A delegation of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America (TCCNA) sought support for Taiwan's bid to join regional trade pacts and enhance its role in international organizations, during a recent visit to Washington D.C.

The 14-member delegation embarked on the three-day visit on March 31, during which they met with officials from the United States Department of Commerce and the Washington office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), as well as dozens of congressmen, TCCNA President Michelle Chang (張聖儀) said Saturday at a press briefing on the trip.

The group made an appeal to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to facilitate the signing of a Taiwan-U.S. bilateral trade agreement to promote trade and commerce between the two countries by eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs, according to Chang.

It also sought the members of Congress' support for Taiwan joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) being planned by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration.

Meanwhile, the delegation expressed hopes the members of Congress will support Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Health Assembly, Chang said.

The 75th World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, is set to open on May 22 in Geneva.

"We hope at this important moment, the WHO can at least give Taiwan an observer status," Chang said.

Chang noted that even though the U.S. is not a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the delegation also sought its support for Taiwan's bid to join the free trade agreement involving 11 economies in the Pacific region.

During the visit, the TCCNA delegation interacted with some 40 members of Congress, including Senators Dan Sullivan and Tammy Duckworth who traveled to Taiwan in June 2021, according to Chang.

On March 31, the delegation met with Richard Steffens, the U.S. Department of Commerce's acting deputy assistant secretary for Asia, for an in-depth exchange of views on Taiwan-U.S. economic and trade exchanges and the above-mentioned issues.

They met with Ingrid Larson, managing director of the Washington AIT office, and officials in charge of economics and trade affairs at the office the following day. The meeting lasted nearly an hour, with talks focusing on Taiwan-U.S. relations and how to promote bilateral economic and trade exchanges, Chang said.

In addition, in order to promote Taiwan's participation in the CPTPP, the delegation held a tea party for CPTPP member states on March 31, which was attended by a total of 14 representatives.

Chang said that several of the attendees were ambassadors of the member states in the U.S. but she declined to disclose the list of participating countries.

The participants had promised they would bring the TCCNA message back to their home country and would urge their government to back Taiwan's membership bid, Chang said.

The TCCNA, established in 1987, is composed of business people who immigrated to North America from Taiwan. Currently, it consists of about 40 chambers of commerce in the U.S. and Canada.

(By Stacy Hsu and Evelyn Kao)


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