The U.S. has maintained and enhanced its commercial ties with Taiwan since 1979. Taiwan is the United States’ ninth largest trading partner, and the U.S. is Taiwan’s second largest trading partner. Taiwan enjoys Export-Import Bank financing, Overseas Private Investment Corporation guarantees, normal trade relations status, and ready access to U.S. markets. AIT has been engaged in a series of trade discussions that have focused on protection of intellectual property rights and market access for U.S. goods and services. The U.S. has a trade and investment framework agreement with Taiwan under the auspices of AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. As of 2013, companies from Taiwan employed more than 12,000 workers in the U.S. with total worker compensation of almost a billion dollars.