US officials have told a visiting TSU delegation that Washington's willingness to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taipei might hinge on how well Taiwan fulfills its commitments as a member of the WTO, a TSU delegate said.
"They say that right now we have to fulfil our commitment to the WTO as part of the mechanism [toward an FTA] because the WTO is the basic framework for a bilateral trade agreement with the United States," TSU Legislator John Wang (王政中), a member of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Relations Committee, told the Taipei Times.
"They're supportive of an FTA, but they are saying that one of the prerequisites is we need to fulfill our commitments to the WTO, or at least show that we've made progress," he said.
The delegation, headed by TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (
Among their meetings was a session with three of the four founding co-chairmen of the newly created Congressional Taiwan Caucus -- Democrat Sherrod Brown, Republican Steve Chabot and Democrat Robert Wexler -- plus long-time Taiwan supporter, Senator Frank Murkowski.
They also went to a dinner hosted by outgoing AIT director Richard Bush and attended by State Department and other US officials.
The delegation brought letters of greeting from former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was originally scheduled to make this trip but was sidelined by a heart ailment.
Huang said that any future Lee trip would depend on what his doctors say.
The topic of the agreement, along with Taiwan's membership in various international organizations including the World Health Organization, were the main topics of conversation, Huang and other delegation members said.
Taiwan's security and the US role in assuring that security was also raised, but delegates indicate that it came up mainly in connection with the FTA.
Taiwanese officials have stressed that such a trade agreement would boost Taiwan's strategic position by further integrating it into the global trade system, boosting its flagging economy and reinforcing ties with the US.
Huang, who had a meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (
But lawmaker Eric Wu (吳東昇), a member of the delegation, said that the question of a future visit to Washington by Chen was not raised in the meetings with the US officials, as far as he knew.
Huang told a press conference that the main purpose of the trip was to introduce the TSU members to US officials and lawmakers and to explain the party's platform and thinking.
The trip was the first to Washington by the one-year-old party.
Meanwhile, Congressional Taiwan Caucus co-chairman Wexler has sent a letter to US International Trade Commission Chairman Steve Koplon to express his strong support for an FTA.
The commission, an independent government agency that recommends trade policy to the administration, is conducting an investigation on a possible US-Taiwan FTA and is expected to issue its findings in October.
"As a strong supporter for upgrading our overall trade relations with Taiwan, I believe that the proposed free trade agreement ... merits careful evaluation and deserves strong support," Wexler said in his letter.
He also added that such an agreement would help "find new opportunities for US producers, workers and farmers," and "provides an extraordinary opportunity" for US investors in Asia.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
‘CLARITY AND RESOLVE’: The US has notified Taiwan, China and Japan regarding its stance against a unilateral change in the Taiwan Strait, Jake Sullivan told a forum The US opposes any unilateral action that would alter the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday. “What we would like to see is stability in cross-strait relations and no effort to unilaterally change the ‘status quo,’” Sullivan said during a virtual forum organized by the Washington-based Aspen Institute. The administration of US President Joe Biden has already communicated that message to China and affirmed it to Taiwan, as well as to its partner Japan, he said. The US’ position on the matter is straightforward, which means that it believes in the