03 August 2009 | Jake Kanter
Suppliers in Taiwan are to gain access to business worth an estimated $960 billion (£583 billion) after the country became a member of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).
Chinese Taipei - a territory including Taiwan, Phengu, Kinmen and Matsu - became the GPA's 41st signatory last month after first applying for membership in 1995.
Nicholas Niggli, chairman of the Committee on Government Procurement at the WTO, said the agreement was a "historic achievement".
GPA nations, including the US and the UK, agree not to favour domestic suppliers over foreign vendors, and to ensure procurement processes are open and transparent.
Membership will enable Taiwan to bypass 'buy American' provisions, giving the territory's IT companies an advantage over Indian and Chinese competitors, according to the Taipei Times.
Meanwhile, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in America said the agreement was a good opportunity for US government buyers to take advantage of Taiwan's "innovative" services and technologies, such as semiconductors.
In 2008 the Economist Intelligence Unit said Taiwan had the best research and development capacity in the world, and six Taiwanese firms made it on to Forbes' list of Asia's biggest companies in September last year.
These included technology manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry and IT company Acer.