Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) on Monday held a virtual meeting with US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai (戴琪) to discuss bilateral trade issues.
During the videoconference, Deng, who serves as the Taiwan’s top trade negotiator, expressed the hope that Taiwan and the US would begin talks on a bilateral trade agreement, an official in the Cabinet’s Office of Trade Negotiations told the Central News Agency yesterday on condition of anonymity.
The official declined to comment on whether the bilateral discussions touched on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an initiative proposed last year by the US government with the aim of enhancing its economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
Photo: Taipei Times / AFP
Nor was it mentioned in a readout provided by the USTR.
In Monday’s meeting, the two sides reviewed progress made on bilateral trade issues since a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) council meeting in June last year, and agreed to remain in contact on those and other issues in the coming months, the readout said.
“They also discussed their mutual interest in working together on issues of common concern, including regionally and in multilateral organizations like the World Trade Organization,” the readout added.
The IPEF has yet to be clearly defined, but according to a US Congressional Research Service report, US officials do not envision it taking the form of a traditional trade agreement.
Instead, it is to include different modules covering “fair and resilient trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and decarbonization, and tax and anticorruption,” the report said.
Taipei has expressed an interest in participating in the IPEF initiative.
However, at a US Senate hearing at the end of last month, Tai was unwilling to comment on whether Taiwan would be invited to join the planned IPEF, saying only that the matter had yet to be decided.
Deng and Tai held their first bilateral meeting in June last year, shortly before the TIFA council meeting, which included high-level trade and investment talks between the two countries.
During the TIFA council meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral trade issues such as supply chains, intellectual property and agriculture, while exploring opportunities to work together on tackling the climate change crisis, the USTR added.
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