The European Commission said on Tuesday it regretted Washing-ton's announcement that it was filing a complaint against the EU before the WTO over the EU's customs system. \n"We regret the US move to bring this issue to the WTO rather than using the bilateral EU-US Joint Customs Council, which would have provided a better forum for resolving these issues," said spokeswoman Arancha Gonzalez for Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy in a statement. \n"We now hope that any disagreement over this matter can be satisfactorily resolved in consultations and that we do not need to move to litigation," she said. \n"The consultations will give us an opportunity to explain to the US that we fully comply with all WTO rules relating to customs matters," she added. \nThe US said earlier Tuesday it was filing the complaint against the EU arguing that inconsistencies in EU customs rules hinder US exports. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said US exporters faced obstacles because customs administration in the EU is handled differently by different member states. \n"Although the EU is a customs union, there is no single EU customs administration," Zoellick's office said in a statement. "Lack of uniformity, coupled with lack of procedures for prompt EU-wide review, can hinder US exports, particularly for small to mid-size businesses." \nUS officials said Washington decided to bring the case in light of the recent EU expansion. US exports to the 25 countries last year totaled US$155.2 billion. \nA comission source expressed surprise at the US action, saying: "The nature of the US concerns are somewhat unclear to the EC, and the US did not exhaust the possibilities of finding a solution through bilateral discussions."
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no