Webinar: The Prospect of a US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement

Kaohsiung_MOFAJoin the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York and the Asia Society for a webinar, “The Prospect of a US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement,” on November 18 with Mr. Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President of the US-Taiwan Business Council and Managing Director for Taiwan at Bower Group Asia, Ms. Wendy Cutler, Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President and former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, and Dr. Roy Chun Lee, Deputy Director of Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research’s Taiwan World Trade Organization and Regional Trade Agreement Center. Ambassador James K.J. Lee, Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, will deliver opening remarks, with Mr. Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President of the Asia Society, moderating the event.

Date and Time:
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am (EDT).
The event will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook.

By easing restrictions on American beef and pork in September, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan effectively removed a major irritant in bilateral trade relations between the US and Taiwan. The desire for a US-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement (BTA) has been a key feature of President Tsai’s policy strategy, especially as cross-strait relations deteriorated. With an increasing number of policy makers, think tanks, and US business interests lending their statements of support, the BTA may be inching closer to reality. Furthermore, 50 Democrat and Republican senators signed a letter in October urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin formal negotiations for a BTA. Taiwan is America’s ninth largest trading partner, the seventh largest export market for U.S. agricultural products, 15th largest foreign investor into the US, and a major supplier of components to US tech companies. While there are certainly benefits to such a trade deal, it cannot be discussed separately from tense relations between the US and China. Is a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan in the U.S. interest? What would be the sticking points? How would Beijing react to the initiation of negotiations? Would starting with a narrower trade deal make more sense? Would a Biden victory at the polls make any difference?

Opening Remarks
Amb. Lee
Ambassador James K.J. Lee is the Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Head of the UN Affairs Task Force in New York. He is a seasoned career diplomat with more than 30 years of experience in the foreign service. Prior to this position, he served as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Representative of the ROC (Taiwan) to the United States. He was also posted in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

About the Speakers
Speaker Photo - Rupert Hammond Chambers_AS
Rupert Hammond-Chambers
is President of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, a membership-based association founded to support investment, trade, and commerce between the the U.S. and Taiwan. He is also the Managing Director for Taiwan at Bower Group Asia--a strategic consultancy focused on designing winning strategies for companies, and is also responsible for Bower Group Asia's defense and security practice. He sits on the Board of the Project 2049 Institute, and on the Advisory Boards of Redwood Partners International, The Sabatier Group, and the Pacific Star Fund. He is a Trustee of Fettes College and is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Wendy Cutler
 is Vice President of Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and Managing Director of its Washington, D.C. office.  In these roles, she focuses on building ASPI’s presence in Washington—strengthening its outreach as a think/do tank—and on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade and investment, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative. Most recently, she served as Acting Deputy US Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. In that capacity she was responsible for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, including the bilateral negotiations with Japan. She also was the chief negotiator to the U.S.-Korea (Korus) Free Trade Agreement.

Roy Chun Lee is Associate Research Fellow and Deputy Director of The Taiwan World Trade Organization (WTO) and Regional Trade Agreement Center at the Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER). He is a policy advisor for Taiwan's trade negotiations with China, New Zealand, and Singapore, and capital-based expert for Taiwan's delegation for WTO services trade meetings and on general liberalization policy. He is a member of the Chinese (Taiwan) National Federation of Industries foreign trade committee, and a member of the advisory committee on e-commerce of the Taiwan Coalition of Service Industries. Prior to joining CIER in 2006, he worked as a regulatory expert project consultant at the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program.

About the Moderator
tom fixed_as
Tom Nagorksi
is Executive Vice President of the Asia Society. He joined following a three-decade career in journalism — having served most recently as Managing Editor for International Coverage at ABC News. Before that, he was Foreign Editor for ABC’s World News Tonight, and a reporter and producer based in Russia, Germany, and Thailand. He was the recipient of eight Emmy awards and the Dupont Award for excellence in international coverage, as well as a fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation. He has written for several publications and is the author of Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack. He serves on Princeton University’s Advisory Council for the Department of East Asian Studies, the Advisory Board of the Committee To Protect Journalists, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He graduated from Princeton University in 1984.


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