方恩格快評》美臺貿易倡議有必要嗎?

行政院舉行記者會宣佈,啓動臺美21世紀貿易倡議進行雙邊貿易談判。(行政院提供)

《貿易暨投資架構協定》,《國際環境夥伴計劃》,《臺美數位經濟論壇》,《全球合作暨訓練架構》,《太平洋對話》,《臺美防疫夥伴關係聯合聲明》,《醫衛合作瞭解備忘錄》,《經濟繁榮夥伴對話》,《教育倡議》。

以上這些都是什麼碗糕?

這些是美國和臺灣之間的協議、對話、架構、夥伴關係和了解備忘錄的名稱。大多數這些項目的正式名稱前面都會加個「美臺」或「臺美」字樣。

這份清單的最新項目是6月1日宣佈的「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」。

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「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」有必要嗎?實際上,現有的協議、對話、框架、夥伴關係和了解備忘錄已經包含了這項新倡議中提議討論的項目。如果現有平臺尚未包含項目,則可以輕鬆擴展它,而無需以不同的名稱創建另一個平臺。

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相反地,「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」被視爲臺灣的又一個「取暖派對」,類似於臺灣在世界衛生大會(WHA)或COP26 期間在會外舉辦的「取暖派對」活動。

在臺灣被排除在最近宣佈的《印太經濟架構》(IPEF)之外後,拜登政府或許想給臺灣「面子」。儘管臺灣政府決定允許進口含有萊克多巴胺的豬肉,而且臺灣政府在去年公投前做出了允許進口美國萊豬將促進臺灣參與貿易協議的努力,但臺灣仍被排除在 IPEF 或與 IPEF 類似的「貿易便捷化協定」之外。

在沒有簽署自由貿易協定的情況下,「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」似乎也是美國在市場準入和關稅問題上向臺灣施壓的另一種方式。也就是說,這些是美國希望臺灣做出的讓步(尋求在美國開展業務或向美國出售產品的臺灣公司已經從市場準入和低關稅中受益)。臺灣的政界和商界領袖應該做好準備。

有一點可以肯定的:這些對話、架構和論壇爲臺灣和美國政府官員提供了以納稅人的費用互訪參加會議的機會。希望他們取得對美國和臺灣經濟都有利的實質性成果,這不僅僅是政府官員和媒體聲稱雙邊關係「堅如磐石」或「突破」的機會,然而這些「突破」至今都尚未真正發生。

或者,臺灣政府本可以拒絕加入「美臺21世紀貿易倡議」,以表達被排除在IPEF外的不滿。近日,筆者在《中國時報》的一篇評論文章中問道:「臺灣政府會不會有這樣的一天,在感謝美國的同時,又在最符合臺灣利益的時候批評美國?」臺灣在沒有參與IPEF的情況下接受拜登政府的「補償」,說明至少目前,這一天還沒有到來。

末世胶囊系统

The Indo Pacific Economic Framework Pity Party

By Ross Darrell Feingold

Former Asia Chairman, Republicans Abroad

机师罢工落幕 长荣航:守护旅客权益与劳资和谐双赢

Twitter: @RossFeingold

Trade & Investment Framework Agreement. International Environmental Partnership Plan. Digital Economy Forum. Global Cooperation and Training Framework. Pacific Islands Dialogue. Partnership Against Coronavirus. Memorandum of Understanding on Health Cooperation. Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue. Education Initiative.

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What are these?

These are the names of agreements, dialogues, frameworks, partnerships, and memorandums of understanding between the United States and Taiwan. The formal name of most of these items includes the words “U.S.-Taiwan” or “Taiwan-U.S.”

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The newest item for this list is the “U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade” announced on June 1st.

Is the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade necessary? In reality, the existing agreements, dialogues, frameworks, partnerships, and memorandums of understanding already include the items that this new initiative proposes to discuss. If the existing platforms did not already include an item, it could easily be expanded, without the need to create yet another platform under a different name.

Instead, the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade comes across as yet another “pity party” for Taiwan, similar to Taiwan‘s “pity party” event on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, or on the sidelines of the COP26 meeting.

落雷击中丘比特

Perhaps the Biden Administration wanted to provide “face” to Taiwan after Taiwan was excluded from the recently announced Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The exclusion of Taiwan from the IPEF occurred despite the Taiwan government’s decision to allow import of pork that includes ractopamine, and the efforts the Taiwan government made prior to last year’s referendum that permitting the import into Taiwan of pork with ractopamine would facilitate Taiwan’s participation in trade agreements, or like the IPEF, “trade facilitation” agreements.

当世幻想博物志

The U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade also appears to be another way for the U.S. to pressure Taiwan on market access and tariff issues in the absence of signing a free trade agreement. That is, these are concessions that the United States wants Taiwan to make, (Taiwan companies seeking to do business in, or sell products to, the United States already benefit from market access and low tariffs). Politicians and business leaders in Taiwan should be prepared.

鏗惑 小說

One thing is certain: These dialogues, frameworks, and forums create opportunities for Taiwan and U.S. government officials to travel either to the United States or Taiwan at taxpayer expense to attend meetings. Let’s hope they achieve something substantive that is good for the economies of both the U.S. and Taiwan, and this is not simply a chance for government officials and media to claim bilateral relations are “rock solid” or that a “breakthrough” has occurred when one has yet to actually occur.

Alternatively, the Taiwan government could have declined to join the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in order to show its displeasure at the exclusion from the IPEF. Recently, this author asked in a commentary for the China Times “Will the day come when Taiwan’s government simultaneously thanks but also, when it best serves Taiwan’s interests, criticizes the United States?” Taiwan agreeing to a “pity party” in the absence of IPEF participation indicates that at least for now, this day has yet to come.

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※以上言論不代表旺中媒體集團立場※

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