Fri, Nov 26, 2004 - Page 10 News List

TIFA talks to be restarted

STAFF WRITER

Taiwan and the US will resume talks on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Washington next Monday and Tuesday, a statement released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

The Taiwan delegation, made up of officials from the Council of Agriculture, Department of Health, Intellectual Property Office, Board of Foreign Trade, Bureau of National Health Insurance and the Directorate General of Telecommunications, will be led by vice minister of economic affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆), who is the top negotiator at the talks.

Chen's US counterpart is Josette Sheeran Shiner, deputy US trade representative in the Office of the US Trade Representative.

Issues to be discussed in the two-day meeting will be agricultural imports and exports, protection of intellectual property rights, opening of the pharmaceutical and telecommunication markets, and business cooperation, the statement said.

TIFA is a stepping stone to a Taiwan-US free trade agreement. The two nations held TIFA negotiations in 1994, 1997 and 1998. The talks, however, were broken off by Washington in late 2002 as the US said that Taiwan has had demonstrated a poor performance in resolving key matters related to foreign rice market access, telecommunications services, pharmaceutical pricing, and intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.

The resumption of the talks may be attributed to an improvement in IPR protection. The nation made significant headway by passing a revision of the Copyright Law (著作權法), which provides more protection to digital-content publications and further clarifies the definition of copyright infringement.

The law was passed in August and took effect last month.

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