Tim­ing for Tai­wan-US TIFA talks un­de­cided: of­fi­cial

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS -

Tai­wan and the United States are still dis­cussing when to hold the next round of talks un­der the bi­lat­eral Trade and In­vest­ment Frame­work Agree­ment (TIFA), a Tai­wanese for­eign af­fairs of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

“We’re still dis­cussing it with the U.S.,” said Kelly Hsieh, direc­tor gen­eral of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs’ Depart­ment of North Amer­i­can Af­fairs, at a regular news brief­ing.

Hsieh was re­spond­ing to ques­tions on the tim­ing of the ma­jor trade talks be­tween Tai­wan and the U.S., which have been held in March or April the past two years.

Eco­nomic Af­fairs Min­is­ter John Deng said ear­lier this month that it was un­likely the next round of TIFA talks would be held in April, de­spite hav­ing said in Fe­bru­ary dur­ing a visit to the U.S., that the talks would take place this month.

Deng said the de­lay was be­cause the U.S. has fo­cused its trade ne­go­ti­a­tion ef­forts on is­sues such as fin­ish­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on the pro­posed Trans-Pa­cific Part- ner­ship (TPP) trade bloc, which is led by the U.S.

There were also sus­pi­cions that the de­lay might be re­lated to Tai­wan’s re­sis­tance to ex­pand­ing im­ports of U.S. beef and pork, but Hsieh did not say Tues­day whether they fac­tored into the de­lay, say­ing only that the gov­ern­ment has had a con­sis­tent stance on the is­sue.

He said Tai­wan will con­tinue its ban on im­ports of in­ter­nal cow or­gans from the U.S. but will move to open its doors to six other kinds of beef parts from the U.S. as long as their safety is en­sured.

Tai­wan will also main­tain its ban on im­ports of U.S. pork that con­tains traces of rac­topamine, a ve­teri­nary lean­ness-en­hanc­ing drug banned in the coun­try, Hsieh said.

Tai­wan also pre­vi­ously pro­hib­ited im­ported beef con­tain­ing rac­topamine, but it lifted the ban in July 2012, set­ting the stage for the re­sump­tion of TIFA talks in March 2013 af­ter a six-year sus­pen­sion caused largely by the dis­pute over beef im­ports from the U.S.

The TIFA was signed in 1994 as a frame­work for Tai­wan-U.S. dia­logue on trade-re­lated is­sues.

The lat­est round of TIFA talks were held in Wash­ing­ton in April 2014.

Asked about a re­cent re­port in which U.S. of­fi­cials sug­gested that Tai­wan ad­dress the beef and pork is­sues if it wanted to speed up the process of join­ing the TPP, Hsieh said Tai­wan un­der­stands the U.S. stance.

Both sides will con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate, he said, adding that bi­lat­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tions un­der the TIFA are smooth.

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