Thu, Jul 27, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan-US trade talks commence

LOW BAR:The talks are expected to resolve technical issues rather than offer substantive advances in bilateral economic and trade policies, a Taiwanese negotiator said

Staff writer, with CNA

A dialogue between Taiwan and the US on trade and investment that began yesterday is expected to help ties between the two countries, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokeswoman Sonia Urbom said.

The dialogue concludes tomorrow and covers a wide range of topics, such as intellectual property rights protection, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agriculture, investment and technical barriers to trade, Urbom said.

An AIT delegation is taking part in the talks with a Taiwanese delegation organized by the Office of Trade Negotiations and headed by deputy chief negotiator Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮).

The talks are the first of their kind since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

Yang is also director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade.

The US delegation is to meet with trade authorities in Taiwan and “will continue to work to expand US-Taiwan bilateral trade and investment relations,” Urbom said in a statement.

According to the Office of Trade Negotiations, the US delegation is comprised of representatives from the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of Agriculture.

Tseng Hsien-chao (曾顯照), a negotiator with the Office of Trade Negotiations, said the latest annual negotiations are expected to focus on topics raised in previous talks, including US pork and beef imports.

During last year’s dialogue, held in Washington under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, a bilateral mechanism between the two countries, the US delegation also raised the pork and beef import issue.

Taiwan bans imports of US meat products that contain traces of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

It relented on beef in 2012, after maximum residue limits for ractopamine in beef and pork were set by a UN food standards body.

In addition, both sides are expected to talk about the huge trade surplus Taiwan enjoys with the US, Tseng said.

Taiwan has the 14th-largest trade surplus with the US, exporting US$9.1 billion more than it imports from the US, according to US Department of Commerce data.

Tseng said that his office had explained the trade surplus to the US, emphasizing that the figure excludes the purchase of military vessels and military personnel training, so that Taiwan is not a major cause of the country’s huge trade imbalance.

In fact, Taipei and Washington complement each other in terms of global trade, he said.

This year’s negotiations are expected to resolve technical issues rather than come up with any substantive advances in bilateral economic and trade policies, he said.

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