Taiwan’s top priority is to obtain an exemption from the US’ aluminum and steel tariffs, but Washington is still considering the issue, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said yesterday.
Deng made the remarks at a news conference after meeting with US officials at a SelectUSA summit held by the US Department of Commerce.
Deng led a 124-strong delegation representing 60 businesses, the nation’s largest ever, to the summit.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross touched on Formosa Plastics Group’s (台塑集團) investments in the US, and the department held a small conference to discuss Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) investment plans in Wisconsin, which are signs that Washington is giving Taiwanese businesses a fair share of attention, Deng said.
Deng also met with officials from other US government agencies, including those from the US Department of Energy, as well as members of the US Senate Committee on Finance and US Representative Ted Yoho, who is chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
However, he did not meet with Office of the US Trade Representative officials, as he had done so last month at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea, Deng said.
Taiwan is a also a victim of China’s excessive production of steel, he said, adding that he explained to US officials Taipei’s measures to offset the negative effects of the Chinese excess.
US officials told him that Washington is still “considering its options” on the matter, Deng said.
The excess in Chinese steel production has upset international steel prices, while Taiwan’s steel production has remained stagnant, Deng said, adding that the government is seeking to reduce the sector’s reliance on China.
In response to the US’ call to other nations to help it counter China’s infringement of intellectual property rights, the delegation expressed its willingness to cooperate with the US on the grounds that China’s disregard for intellectual property has contravened the WHO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Deng said.
Taiwan aims to protect its intellectual property rights, he added.
Beijing’s heavy-handed approach on acquiring intellectual property rights subsidies and purchases could present opportunities for Taiwanese intellectual property owners in the short term, but it would affect local industry in the long run, Deng added.
In related news, CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) at the summit signed heads of agreement (HOA) with Cheniere Energy Inc to purchase 2 million tonnes of liquified natural gas annually.
The deal is expected to deepen ties between Taiwan and the US, the company said.
As the government’s energy policy is focused on developing renewable energy sources, the HOAs would help diversify the nation’s energy sources and improve energy stability, Deng said.
He said he hopes his meeting with the energy department would expand business opportunities for the energy sector on both sides.
The nation last year purchased US$154 million of crude oil from the US, and has placed orders for US$2.31 billion of oil for the first eight months of this year, statistics compiled by the delegation showed.
No records on crude oil imports from the US prior to last year were available.
Additional reporting by Nadia Tsao
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