President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday renewed his call for the US to put bilateral trade negotiations back on track and resume talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) during a meeting with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt at the Presidential Office.
“We believe that the hurdles for Taiwan and the US to resume talks under TIFA should be removed following the resolution of the US beef import issue in July last year ... We expect to resume negotiations on TIFA as soon as possible and promote trade relations with the US step by step,” Ma said.
Burghardt, who arrived in Taipei on Tuesday for a five-day visit, is scheduled to meet several politicians and business leaders to discuss the timetable for the resumption of TIFA talks.
The Ma administration has been pushing the talks as a major step in promoting Taiwan-US relations and possibly paving the way for Taiwan to take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Ma said Taiwan and the US have developed closer cooperation in recent years on a variety of regional issues, such as stopping human trafficking and anti-terror networks.
He also stressed the government’s efforts to maintain regional peace in East Asia, including a proposal to resolve the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) through negotiations with China and Japan, which also claim the islands.
The timetable for resuming TIFA talks was not brought up in the meeting.
Ma also defended the development of cross-strait relations under his administration, and said the Chinese government has expressed support for his government’s plan to relax regulations on Chinese investments and Chinese students in Taiwan.
“Mainland China also agrees that the time is not ripe to deal with political issues,” he said.
Burghardt underlined the closer cooperation between the US and Taiwan over the past four years and said he expected the two countries to strengthen communication and develop closer relations in the future.