The Impact of U.S. Trade Law on Government Policy Making in the Republic of China

Since President Reagan signed the Omnibus Trade Act on August 23, 1988, the U.S. government has completed a series of investigations according to the provisions of the Act. Consultations aimed at forcing its trading partners to adjust their trade- policies which are regarded as unfair to U.S. trade have also been held in the past ten months or so. Being one of the most important trading partners of the U.S. – both in terms of its overall trade volume and its surplus with the U.S. – the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) seems to have become a target of retaliatory measures implied in the Act. During the period from August of last year to this date, the U.S. has consulted intensively with the ROC on various trade issues. The possible implementation of the Trade Act seemed to have been implied throughout most of the talks. Therefore, the results of consultations often had an impact on the trade policy of the ROC. On the other hand, the adjustments that the ROC has made to cope with the new environment of the world economy have also been instrumental in formulating the ROC’s new trade policy. All in all, the ROC’s trade policy has been transformed, over the past twenty-five years, from an export-oriented one to the present one which encourages imports with a view toward balancing the two-way trade. In order to carry out this policy, the ROC has adopted a series of measures not only to expedite the liberalization of its market, but also to increase its purchases from the U.S.