Taiwanese officials on Friday stated the nation’s intention of becoming a “constructive partner” in the US’ efforts to promote regional economic integration during the latest round of bilateral talks, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) said.
The officials also briefed their US counterparts on reforms the nation has undertaken in its bid to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade bloc, Cho said.
In response, the US said that the focus of TPP-related efforts at this stage should be to complete the first round of negotiations already under way, Cho told reporters after the eighth round of meetings under the US-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
As expected, the US brought up Taiwan’s prohibition on the import of US pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, Cho said.
Taiwanese officials said that they understand US concerns over the issue, but the delegation restated the nation’s position that pork containing ractopamine should not be linked to the import of US beef with the drug, he said.
Taiwan lifted the ban on imports of US beef containing traces of the drug in July 2012, paving the way for the resumption of the TIFA talks in March last year. Until then, the talks had been suspended for more than five years.
Taiwanese officials suggested a breakthrough followed the latest talks in Washington.
According to a press release issued yesterday by the ministry, US officials gave the first positive response to Taiwan’s long-standing request to export dancing-doll orchids with potting media to the US.
Potting media, usually consisting of bark and dried plant fibers, are necessary for orchids’ health and survival during transportation.
US officials said that regulations governing the import of the orchid with potting media from Taiwan will be made public in the second half of this year, the ministry said.
The release of regulations is set to be followed by a two-month period of public review and comment. Based on that time frame, the ministry estimated orchid exports could start by the end of the year at the earliest.
The US already allows the import of Taiwanese moth orchids with potting media. In 2011, the trade was worth US$40.5 million to local exporters.