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Press Release

The United States and Taiwan Sign Understanding on WTO Government Procurement Agreement

PR0125E | Date: 2001-08-24

The United States and Taiwan signed an Understanding today clarifying Taiwan's commitments for its accession to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). This Understanding builds upon a comprehensive bilateral market opening agreement signed by the United States and Taiwan in 1998, affirms Taiwan's commitment to full and effective participation in the international rules-based trading system, brings Taiwan further into conformity with WTO GPA requirements, and ensures that barriers against U.S. companies in Taiwan's government procurement market will be lifted. Taiwan's commitments cover over $15 billion in infrastructure projects, and procurement of a wide range of other goods and services. A number of these commitments will be implemented immediately, and the remainder will take effect upon Taiwan's accession to the WTO. The WTO GPA is a plurilateral agreement that requires transparency, due process and non-discrimination in government bidding processes.

Selected Highlights:

* Taiwan will not require U.S. suppliers to participate in local industry or business
associations as a condition for tendering.

* U.S. suppliers participating in the tendering process have recourse to challenge
procedures through an independent Complaint Review Board.

* Taiwan will include global business experience in its evaluation of suppliers'
qualifications, and will not limit such evaluations to previous performance in Taiwan.

* A supplier's delay or failure to perform a GPA-covered contract due to an event of "force
majeure" will not constitute the basis for termination of the contract for default, forfeiture of any performance security, or imposition of liquidated damages.