Po­lit­i­cal will, tough de­ci­sions to join TPP: Rivkin


Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing the U.S.-led Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) will have to meet high stan­dards that re­quire “po­lit­i­cal will” and “mak­ing tough de­ci­sions,” a vis­it­ing se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing dur­ing a round­table with lo­cal press yes­ter­day, Charles H. Rivkin, the U.S. as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for eco­nomic and busi­ness af­fairs, said that the TPP is the high­est stan­dard trade deal ever con­ceived.

The U.S. ap­pre­ci­ates Tai­wan’s in­ter­est in join­ing the TPP, he noted, but any­one in­ter­ested in do­ing so will have to meet those stan­dards.

“And some­times that re­quires po­lit­i­cal will and mak­ing tough de­ci­sions,” he noted.

It is in Tai­wan and any other econ­omy’s best in­ter­ests to un­der­stand the high stan­dards of the TPP and to in­spire to those stan­dards.

“It is up to each econ­omy to de­cide what needs to be done to meet those ob­jec­tives and some­thing for Tai­wan’s au­thor­i­ties to make some de­ci­sions on in that case,” Rivkin said.

Asked if re­solv­ing is­sues sur­round­ing the im­port of U. S. meat prod­ucts will speed up Tai­wan’s push to join the TPP, Rivkin said he would not fo­cus on one par­tic­u­lar is­sue be­cause a lot of is­sues can be over­come if one day Tai­wan were to be con­sid­ered a mem­ber of the TPP.

But he also ad­mit­ted that those very “high pro­file and im­por­tant is­sues” need to be ad- dressed.

“Re­solv­ing th­ese long­stand­ing trade ir­ri­tants is a smart move for any­body,” he said.

“We have been con­sis­tently push­ing for open mar­ket ac­cess and for science to be the ba­sis for mak­ing agri­cul­tural de­ci­sions,” he noted, adding that the ba­sis for any in­vest­ment comes from “trans­parency, pre­dictabil­ity and the rule of law.”

Each of those cat­e­gories is im­por­tant and the U. S. has dis­cussed this with trad­ing part­ners like Tai­wan, he said.

TIFA Talks Could Be Held Be­fore the End of This Year

Dur­ing the same round­table yes­ter­day, Rivkin also con­firmed that Tai­wan and the U.S. are try­ing to sched­ule the next round of bi­lat­eral Trade and In­vest­ment Frame­work Agree­ment ( TIFA) talks “be­fore the end of this year.”

Asked to ex­plain the main rea­son for the de­lay of the an­nual talks this year, which usu­ally take place in spring, he noted that one of the fac­tors has been that the U.S. is busy with the on­go­ing TPP ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“As you see, we have been very fo­cused on TPP and a num­ber of our trade-re­lated mat­ters, and the im­por­tant thing is that both economies want to restart th­ese talks, and we both tar­geted be­fore the end of the year.”

Rivkin, re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing trade ne­go­ti­a­tions, in­vest­ment treaties and other eco­nomic is­sues at the U.S. State Depart­ment, ar­rived in Tai­wan on Sun­day. He is the high­est-rank­ing U.S. State Depart­ment of­fi­cial to visit Tai­wan since his pre­de­ces­sor Jose Fer­nan­dez in 2012.


U.S. As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Eco­nomic and Busi­ness Af­fairs Charles Rivkin speaks dur­ing his key­note speech at the 2015 COM­PU­TEX Taipei ex­hi­bi­tion, yes­ter­day. Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou also spoke at the event. The ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs from June 2 to 6, fea­tures both Tai­wanese and in­ter­na­tional ex­hibitors in cat­e­gories in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion prod­ucts, data stor­age, touch ap­pli­ca­tions and dis­play prod­ucts, among oth­ers.

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