Taiwan and the US are to hold talks on “strategic economic cooperation” in Washington on Friday next week, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in separate statements yesterday.
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell on Aug. 31 announced the establishment of the Taiwan-US Economic and Commercial Dialogue — which has since been renamed the Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue — after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 promised to ease restrictions on imports of US cattle more than 30 months old and US pork containing ractopamine.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the date of the talks at a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday, saying: “The dialogue signifies that our economic relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and reliable partner, is strong and growing.”
Photo: Lee Ya-wen, Taipei Times
The first dialogue would be “online/offline,” with Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) leading a small delegation to the US, while Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花), Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) would join the talks from Taipei via video conference.
The US delegation would be headed by US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach, who visited Taipei in September.
US-Taiwan relations are “going in a very good direction” and the MOEA is working to “expedite progress,” Wang said.
Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times
“We will be talking about economic cooperation in the fields of medicine, technology, supply chains and energy,” she said.
“We can see by the breadth of the topics that just like US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, the Taiwan-US relationship is strong and growing,” Wang said. “We are happy to be able to seize the moment and push ahead with talks.”
As the talks would be held within the purview of the US Department of State, specific trade issues, such as a bilateral trade agreement, would not be addressed, she said.
Asked by reporters whether the issue of US pork imports would be revisited, Wang said that it was important to “follow through on President Tsai Ing-wen’s commitment to lift the ban.”
“The ban on pork containing ractopamine was a long-term problem we finally addressed. Now that the president made a promise [to ease the ban], we must carry it through,” Wang said.
During a meeting with industrial representatives in Taipei yesterday, Tsai said that the dialogue demonstrates the progress in Taiwan-US relations and heralds an opportunity for local industries.
With closer partnerships, Taiwanese companies would surely become more competitive on the global stage, she said.
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen would also join the dialogue from Taipei via video conference, the AIT said in a news release, adding that Chen would be joined in Washington by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴).
Cooperation related to 5G security, semiconductors, infrastructure development, investment project reviews and women’s economic empowerment, as well as scientific and technological projects would be discussed, the statement said.
In other developments, Wang told reporters that “economic bubbles” for business travelers to Taiwan are “necessary for the Taiwanese economy.”
“Face-to-face communication is still irreplaceable for serious investments and purchasing decisions,” Wang said. “We are pleased the first case went through — there are more in the pipeline.”
The MOEA on Tuesday announced that the Central Epidemic Command Center had approved a request for several representatives of a US electronics company to visit Taiwan for three days under economic bubble rules that exempt them from quarantine procedures.
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