Latest TIFA talks ‘pro­duc­tive’: US Tai­wan and US yet to agree on eas­ing pork im­port re­stric­tions

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOHN LIU

The latest round of trade talks be­tween Tai­wan and the U.S. un­der the bi­lat­eral Trade and In­vest­ment Frame­work Agree­ment (TIFA) made much ground in a num­ber of ar­eas on its first day, yesterday, but both sides have yet to reach con­sen­sus on is­sues such as U.S. pork im­ports, said a U.S. trade of­fi­cial.

The talks reached agree­ment on sev­eral is­sues and en­hanced eco­nomic ties be­tween the two na­tions, said Robert Hol­ley­man, a deputy U. S. trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the head of the U. S. del­e­ga­tion, in a joint press con­fer­ence is­sued with his R. O. C. coun­ter­part, Deputy Eco­nom­ics Min­is­ter Cho Shih- chao ( ). The TIFA meet­ing is a very im­por­tant plat­form for di­a­logue, and good progress was made in yesterday’s meet­ing, Cho said. “Through this plat­form, both sides were able to dis­cuss cer­tain im­por­tant is­sues and re­solve items that con­cern both sides.”

The sub­jects dis­cussed yesterday en­com­pass bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, trade bar­ri­ers, agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and mul­ti­lat­eral and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, among oth­ers.

Much progress was made to fa­cil­i­tate in­vest­ment, and the U.S. is pleased to see the lib­er­al­iza­tion mea­sures that Taipei has taken to fur­ther open the mar­ket, Hol­ley­man said.

De­spite the fact that there are is­sues the two sides are try­ing to re­solve, there are also many agree­ments, the U.S. trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

Tai­wan has made progress in im­prov­ing trade se­cret pro­tec­tion and has passed laws to en­sure the in­no­va­tion of its econ­omy, he said.

The meet­ing talked about ef­forts to foster in­no­va­tion in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tion and how to sim­plify reg­u­la­tions to has­ten the launch of med­i­cal equip­ment into the mar­ket­place and en­sure pa­tients’ in­ter­ests.

There are also talks “about how we can re­duce tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers in trade (and) over­come reg­u­la­tory ob­sta­cles in me­chan­i­cal reg­is­tra­tion process,” Hol­ley­man said.

In ad­di­tion, there were dis­cus­sions over re­gional and mul­ti­lat­eral ini­tia­tives to high­light the two coun­tries’ close co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas like APEC and the WTO, the U.S. en­voy said.

Food Safety Mea­sures Should Be ‘based on science’: U.S.

On im­ports of U.S. pork con­tain­ing rac­topamine, Hol­ley­man stressed the U. S. con­sis­tently urged its trade part­ners, in­clud­ing Tai­wan, to en­sure that all food safety mea­sures “are based on science” and “con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.”

The U. S. is up­hold­ing this prin­ci­ple with all of its trad­ing part­ners via bi­lat­eral, mul­ti­lat­eral and re­gional trade di­a­logues that it par­tic­i­pates in. Tai­wan is no ex­cep­tion, and this is crit­i­cal in fos­ter­ing ro­bust eco­nomic re­la­tions, Hol­ley­man said.

Chu said, how­ever, that his del­e­ga­tion sticks to Tai­wan’s of­fi­cial pol­icy of “sep­a­rate han­dling of beef and pork im­ports.” The Leg­isla­tive Yuan passed a bill re­lax­ing the im­port of rac­topamine- con­tain­ing U. S. beef prod­ucts in July 2012. Im­ports of pork prod­ucts with the same ad­di­tives, how­ever, are still banned. While beef im­ports were widely seen as a food safety is­sue by the Tai­wanese public, the open­ing of the do­mes­tic pork mar­ket could have big­ger eco­nomic im­pact on the na­tion’s con­sid­er­able num­ber of pig farm­ers.

Tai­wan’s Bid to Join the TPP

There was a gen­eral dis­cus­sion yesterday in which Tai­wan up­dated the U.S. on do­mes­tic re­forms that Tai­wan may need to take to be pre­pared to seek to join the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) or other trade agree­ments, ac­cord­ing to Hol­ly­man.

“And we welcome that up­date and ef­forts. Right now the United States and a lot of our trade part­ners are meet­ing in At­lanta in an ef­fort to try to see if we can reach a con­clu­sion to the TPP, and we are fo­cused on that ef­fort, and any dis­cus­sion about ex­pan­sion of that is pre­ma­ture un­til we have an ac­tual agree­ment.”

When the TPP is con­cluded, all the de­tails and the texts per­tain­ing to the TPP will be made public, and that will be use­ful for Tai­wan and other coun­tries that have a com­mon in­ter­est in be­com­ing part of the TPP to as­sess their readi­ness in meet­ing the stan­dards, Hol­ley­man said.

CNA

(Left) Deputy Eco­nom­ics Min­is­ter Cho Shih-chao ( ), sec­ond left, and Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics Af­fairs of­fi­cials at­tend the ninth Tai­wan-U.S. trade talks un­der the bi­lat­eral Trade and In­vest­ment Frame­work Agree­ment (TIFA), in Taipei, yesterday. (Right) Deputy U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and head of the U.S. TIFA talk del­e­ga­tion Robert Hol­ley­man, sec­ond right, and other del­e­gate mem­bers par­tic­i­pate at the TIFA trade talk in Taipei, yesterday.

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