Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 12 News List

US, Taiwan FTA remains on the cards

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The US has not excluded the possibility of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan and the US administration has urged Taiwan to continue to seek support from US enterprises to facilitate its FTA efforts, a US official said yesterday.

Deputy US Trade Representative Karan Bhatia said during talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) framework that began in Taipei yesterday that due to limited manpower, the US authorities in charge of foreign trade relations have focused their time and energy mainly on the Doha-round talks of the WTO and FTA negotiations with other countries.

The fifth round of talks under the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement started yesterday at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) is serving as Taiwan's chief negotiator to discuss a number of economic and trade issues with Bhatia during the two-day meeting.

Bhatia, the most senior US official to visit the country in six years, suggested that Taiwan continue to seek support from major US enterprises, saying that the US administration will probably consider Taiwan's case favorably if more US enterprises express support for Taiwan's requirement for an FTA.

Officials will discuss agriculture, enforcement of intellectual property rights, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications policy.

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