Trade negotiations between Taiwan and the US are to resume at a virtual meeting, with supply chain security as a likely topic, Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said on Thursday.
Deng, who heads the Office of Trade Negotiations, told the Central News Agency in a telephone interview that other likely topics would include carbon emissions, labor rights and welfare, digital economy, intellectual property rights, and trade secrets protection.
Details of the talks under the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) have not yet been determined, but the first such talks in four years would be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Deng said.
During the interview, Deng confirmed that he attended a videoconference earlier that day with Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪).
Deng said that Tai’s friendliness toward Taiwan was evident during the talk and that she highlighted the US’ willingness to engage with Taiwan in many areas.
Tai’s office later yesterday issued a media readout, announcing that Deng and Tai during the meeting pledged to convene the 11th TIFA Council.
After signing the TIFA agreement in 1994, Taiwan and the US held 10 high-level talks from 1995 to 2016.
The meetings were suspended under the administration of former US president Donald Trump, reportedly due to Washington’s objections to Taiwan’s trade restrictions on some US products, including pork products containing residues of the feed additive ractopamine.
Deng said that the revision of the import ban last year showed Taiwan’s commitment to internationalization and stronger trade relations with the US.
“Taiwan is an important part of the international supply chain and a trusted partner of the US,” he said.
Separately, American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen wrote on Facebook that a TIFA meeting would take place this month.
Restarting the TIFA process would allow both sides to deepen their collaboration in the fields of supply chains, investment and a worker-focused trade policy, he said.
The US greatly values its relationship with Taiwan, Christensen said.
“Taiwan and the US can work together to help the entire globe Build Back Better through enhanced labor standards, environmental protections and fair trade,” he said. “Our trade and investment cooperation is another shining example of the US-Taiwan relationship of Real Friends, Real Progress.”
Taiwan has been keen to restart the TIFA talks, seeking the establishment of a bilateral free-trade agreement, amid its continued exclusion from many regional trade blocs due to China’s opposition.
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