Taiwan and the US yesterday reached consensus on trade principles for the information and communication technology (ICT) service sector as well as international investments in the seventh Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting.
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) and Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told a press conference that the two sides agreed to cooperate to enhance domestic regulatory capacity and support the expansion of ICT networks and services.
Under the joint statement on trade principles for the ICT service sector, Taiwan and the US agreed to share information and experience with each other on legislation, regulations and programs in areas relevant to promoting the ICT service sector.
A consensus was also reached on “political commitments” to ensure sustained bilateral trade and investment, with the two governments agreeing to create an open and non-discriminatory investment climate, and supporting a fair market in which state-run enterprises will not enjoy preferential treatment.
Cho said the principles for international investments are expected to enhance bilateral trade ties, create jobs, enhance economic growth and intensify promotion of a “Taiwan-US Investment Agreement.”
Marantis said the US recognized Taiwan has a strong interest in signing a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the US and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free-trade agreement aimed at liberalizing economies in the Asia-Pacific region and fostering international trade.
Taiwan cannot be “invited” unilaterally by the US to join the TPP, but must prove it can meet obligations affecting the interests of 12 current member economies including the US, he said.
Marantis also said the US had raised the issue of importing more US meat products to Taiwan, but did not win support from Taiwan’s representatives, because of the Taiwanese government and its citizens’ concerns that US meat products may contain residues of the livestock feed additive ractopamine.
“We understand this is a longstanding concern of Taiwanese, but we will continue promoting the trade of US meat products and proving the quality of our product is consistent with international standards,” he said.
The US representative avoided specifying that he was referring to pork, and talked about “meat products” throughout. Cho did not comment on the issue.
The two sides have agreed to schedule the eighth round of TIFA talks next year in Washington, Marantis said, adding that the US expects future talks to be an annual event.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs will establish two sections for talks under TIFA to negotiate with the US about solutions to technical barriers to trade and bilateral investment, Cho said.
He added that the government would seek further assistance from the US on access to the TPP and would liberalize laws and regulations to try to meet its requirements.