After a hiatus of more than five years, Taiwan and the US are set to resume talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Taipei in March, Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) confirmed on Friday.
US Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis is to lead a delegation to attend the new round of trade discussions under TIFA to begin March 11 in Taipei, King said during a news conference in San Francisco, on the first leg of his inaugural trip to the western US after assuming his duties under the role in December last year.
He expressed hope that both sides will discuss issues of mutual concern and cooperation in commerce, such as a bilateral investment agreement, during the upcoming talks to improve bilateral trade and investment relations.
King announced earlier this month that TIFA talks are to resume on March 11 and March 12 in Taipei, in which Marantis will head a delegation of trade officials to co-host the seventh round of TIFA talks with Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭).
The talks under TIFA, which was signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-US dialogue on trade-related issues in the absence of diplomatic ties, was suspended in 2007 due to controversies over imports of US beef products containing residue of ractopamine, a leanness-enhancing drug.
Taiwan eased restrictions on imports of US beef products containing residue of ractopamine in July last year, paving the way for resumption of the TIFA talks.
King said bilateral relations are the most stable in 30 years and mutual trust has been rebuilt since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008.
Taiwan’s admission to the US Visa-Waiver Program, which took effect in November last year, was one of the examples of the improved bilateral ties, he added.
Meanwhile, new US Secretary of State John Kerry and former senator Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated for the post of secretary of defense by US President Barack Obama, have assured the US Congress of their commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and Taiwan’s security in their recent responses to questions from the US Congress, King said.
In light of the East China Sea Peace initiative proposed by Ma, King said scholars at San Francisco-based think tanks acknowledged the proposal to shelve differences and jointly explore resources to address the territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
King also reiterated that the government will not compromise on its claims of sovereignty over the Diaoyutais and will continue to safeguard Taiwanese fishing rights in the waters near the islands.