The Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) under the Executive Yuan (the Cabinet) is the government agency responsible for the international trade negotiations of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Our Idea - A response to the changing world trade environment and the need for higher efficiency in coordination
Established on 20 September 2016, the OTN is headed by the Minister without Portfolio in charge of trade policy coordination. It is designed to spearhead the country’s trade negotiations as well as shape the country’s position in such negotiations.
Taiwan is an economy highly dependent on international trade for its growth. As such, it has always been the government’s primary consideration to maintain global and regional connectedness and create a level playing field for foreign trade. The Office of Trade Negotiations was formerly established under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in 2007 to handle Taiwan’s trade negotiations against this backdrop.
The proliferation of trade agreements in the last dozen years in the Asia-Pacific region, where Taiwan has trade interests at stake, has presented challenges and opportunities to its trade, and further made even more pressing the need to actively integrate itself into the Asia-Pacific region. The last decade has further seen an accelerating process of regional trade integration as well as the emergence of several trade blocs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In light of the fact that most of these blocs’ members are Taiwan’s major trading partners, joining them is one of its most prioritized policies. These trade agreements usually involve ever-deepening degrees of liberalization and a maze of trade regulations spanning a wide range of affairs, the authority and responsibility for which belong to various government agencies.
Also, the promotion of the New Southbound Policy, enhancing cooperation and exchanges in the fields of technology, culture and trade with South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, involves various ministries.
Restructuring the economy and bridging the gap in trade regulations in preparation for Taiwan to join trade agreements also require the concerted efforts of various agencies. These demonstrate that policy coordination among different agencies is of increasing importance, in turn calling for the benefit of a higher-level coordination mechanism.
To facilitate the coordination of the positions and resources of different agencies in pushing for joining the TPP and RCEP as well as implementing the New Southbound Policy, and in order to demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to press ahead with these policies, the Office of Trade Negotiations under the auspices of the Executive Yuan is being founded to replace the former iteration that operated under the MOEA.
Meanwhile, drawing on the expertise and experience that the former iteration of the OTN and its staff have amassed over the years, and building on the progress they have achieved, the government has decided to integrate them into the new Office under the Executive Yuan. The new Office is expected to further exercise its functions in trade negotiations and coordination in a more efficient fashion.
(1) Participating in and pushing for multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; joining regional trade integration such as the TPP and the RCEP
(2) Promoting international economic and trade cooperation, building public and private partnership to gather momentum for trade diplomacy, including the implementation of the New Southbound Policy
(3) Bringing trade regimes into conformity with international regulations and restructuring the economy through trade negotiations and international cooperation
Our Functions and Tasks
(1) Formulation of policies regarding foreign trade affairs and negotiations
(2) Formulation and implementation of strategies of trade negotiations
(3) Formulation and coordination of strategies for international trade cooperation
(4) Policy coordination and communication with regard to bringing domestic regulations in line with international trade negotiations
(5) Cultivating and training talent in the field of trade negotiations