An official expressed the hope on Tuesday that Taiwan and the US could start negotiations on the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) next spring.
During a seminar held by the Center for National Policy in Washington, Taiwan's deputy representative in Washington, John Deng (鄧振中), noted that many Asian countries had sought to sign bilateral FTAs with other countries.
For example, Singapore had signed FTAs or engaged in free trade talks with more than 20 countries, and China had entered talks with members of ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand, Deng said.
Meanwhile, the US had signed an FTA with Australia and was holding talks with South Korea, Deng said, adding that Taiwan, as a major trading partner of the US, should not be ignored.
Statistics show that bilateral trade between Taiwan and the US totaled US$58 billion last year.
However, several US academics who were taking part in the seminar said that in light of Washington's diplomatic agenda and the situation across the Taiwan Strait, the start of Taiwan-US FTA talks might involve complicated political issues.
Early this month, Thomas Christensen, newly appointed US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that the timing was not yet right for the signing of an FTA between Taiwan and the US.