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Taiwan Seeking More Investment Screening Cooperation With US, Taiwan Official Says

Taiwan wants to continue the momentum from its November economic dialogue with the U.S. to begin negotiating a trade deal and collaborate more on investment screening, Taiwan’s representative to the U.S. said. Bi-khim Hsiao, an official with Taipei’s Economic and Cultural Representative Office, said the island is particularly interested in boosting its screening mechanisms for foreign investments.

“One recurring difficult issue for Taiwan is in the field of investment screening,” said Hsiao, speaking during a Nov. 30 webinar hosted by the Atlantic Council. She added that cooperation with the U.S. is “necessary” to better understand a foreign company’s “full background” before approving investments. Hsiao said the U.S. and Taiwan made plans for “additional engagements” between Taiwan’s investment commission and the Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S.

Riley Walters, an Asia economic and policy expert with the Heritage Foundation, said more investment cooperation would benefit both countries. “When we were beginning to talk about reforming CFIUS, one of the arguments we made was [it would help] bring in partners and allies,” Walters said during the webinar. “This is another one of those areas for cooperation.” The U.S. expanded the jurisdiction of CFIUS earlier this year and has lobbied allies to increase scrutiny of transactions involving sensitive technologies, including from Chinese firms (see 2002260042).

“With 5G, the internet of things, [artificial intelligence] and other new technologies increasingly bringing to the forefront fresh concerns about data integrity, surveillance and the need for clean networks, it is more than ever time for Taiwan and the United States to build secure bridges between our industries,” Hsiao said.

Hsiao said the “logical next step” to build off the November talks between the U.S. and Taiwan is for the two countries to begin negotiating a trade agreement (see 2011190060 and 2009300015). A trade deal would help both countries amid “growing international concern about the integrity of supply chains,” she said, and “questions about dependencies on certain countries.” Hsiao said Taiwan “looks forward to working with the next administration” on a deal.