A. Active Participation in WTO Negotiations
1. The government puts great emphasis on matters relating to the development of the multilateral trade system established by the WTO. Since its accession to the WTO in January 2002, Taiwan has been an active participant in the Doha rounds of multilateral negotiations. By utilizing the rules of the WTO, we have been able to eliminate trade barriers while strengthening trade and economic relations with other WTO Members. By attending Trade Policy Review meetings, we have been able to grasp the trade policy directions of Members, thereby assisting our industries in expanding their international business opportunities. By utilizing the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism, we have ensured the interests and competitiveness of our export industry.
2. The WTO completed negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) during its Ninth Ministerial Conference, and it entered into force on February 22, 2017. It was the WTO's first new multilateral trade agreement since the organization was established in 1995. The WTO held its 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in December 2017 and reached decisions on the issues of small economies, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce, and non-violation of TRIPS. Taiwan also allied with the U.S., the EU and other major countries in jointly promoting the development of e-commerce and MSMEs, in order to establish standards that are conducive to the business environment.
3. Regarding plurilateral negotiations, 26 members of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion, including Taiwan, have successively implemented the first stage of tariff reductions in accordance with the schedule since July 1, 2016. A number of WTO Members have also declared their intention to join the agreement. In addition, Taiwan participated in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations that were officially launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively; however, they have since been temporarily suspended. 4. A free and open multilateral trade system is an extremely worthy goal, which Taiwan is committed to pursue. Taiwan will continue to participate actively in WTO discussions in order to contribute to the formulation of new international trade regulations, eventually creating greater and more tangible opportunities for international trade.
B. Participation in WTO Accession Consultations with New Members
Since 2002, as prospective countries prepare to accede to the WTO, Taiwan has held separate bilateral negotiations with Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Liberia, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria. The aim of these negotiations is to seek market access, tariff reductions, etc., which will allow and facilitate the expansion of Taiwanese businesses into their markets. All of these countries, with the exception of Belarus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, and Algeria, have since become WTO Members.
C. Participation in the WTO's Trade Policy Review Meetings
Being among the 20 largest international trading economies in the world, Taiwan's trade policies have to be reviewed every four years under WTO regulations. Taiwan has been reviewed three times: in June 2006, July 2010 and September 2014. The fourth review will be held in September 2018. In the same vein, Taiwan has actively participated in the Trade Policy Review meetings of other Members.
D. Using WTO Mechanisms to Secure Taiwan's Interests and Benefits
By participating as a third party in 98 dispute settlement cases since its accession in 2002, Taiwan has familiarized itself with the WTO's dispute settlement procedures. When domestic businesses have complained about unfair treatment by other countries or been adversely affected by trade measures that might be in violation of WTO regulations, the government has initiated, after internal consultations with relevant authorities and legal professionals, several dispute settlement procedures under the WTO's Understanding on Rules and Procedures Goveming the Settlement of Disputes (DSU). Some examples are described below:
1. In August 2008, Taiwan, together with the U.S. and Japan, jointly requested that a Panel be established by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to investigate whether the EU and its Member States' collection of tariffs on flat-panel displays, set-top boxes and multifunctional digital machines was in violation of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT 1994). The Panel was duly established in September 2008 and issued its Final Report in July 2010, ruling in favor of Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan.
2. In June 2014, Taiwan requested consultations with Canada regarding its imposition of provisional and definitive anti-dumping measures on imports of certain carbon steel welded pipe (CSWP) from Taiwan. The panel issued its final report in December 2016, ruling in favor of Taiwan. The report was adopted by the DSB in January 2017. Canada amended its regulations concerning the calculation of de minimis dumping margins in the Special Import Measures Act on June 22, 2017 and terminated the anti-dumping duties levied on Taiwanese micro-dumping firms. It also amended the tax rate of other exporters in Taiwan (all other rates).
3. In February 2015, Taiwan requested consultations with Indonesia concerning the safeguard measures it imposed on imports of certain flat-rolled iron or steel products from Taiwan. A Panel was then formed on December 9, 2015. After two years of proceedings in the WTO dispute settlement system, the Panel ruled in favor of Taiwan on August 18, 2017.
More information: The Official Website of Taiwan for WTO Affairs