Taiwanese and US officials met in Washington on Thursday for a day-long seminar in what could be the first stage in a long process of hammering out a free-trade agreement (FTA). \nThe seminar at the Brookings Institution was arranged by Richard Bush, who left his job as head of the American Institute in Taiwan in January to become the director of Brookings' Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies. \nThe nearly nine-hour seminar featured 18 presentations by officials and trade specialists, in what is expected to form the basis of future efforts to bring Taipei and Washington together in an FTA. \nThe meeting was closed to the press. \nWhile Taiwan has eagerly sought an FTA, which would solidify both economic and political ties between the two sides, the George W. Bush administration has been leery about it. \nIt is believed that Thursday's seminar is the first time official representatives from both sides sat down together to discuss the issue, although the seminar was a private event. \nAttendees from Taipei included Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steven Chen; Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) chief Chen Chien-jen (程建人), Chunghua Institution for Eco-nomic Research Chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), Liu Da-Nien of the institute, Chan Mignon of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research and Ko Chen-en of the Taiwan Think Tank. \nUS participants included Assistant US Trade Representative for North Asian Affairs Wendy Cutler; David Spooner, chief USTR textile negotiator; US International Trade Commission operations director Robert Rogowsky and Tim Skud, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for regulatory, tariffs and trade enforcement. \nIn addition to the seminar, Shen and his delegation are expected to meet with US officials on trade issues and with others in Washington before leaving this weekend. \nAdministration officials have been telling Taiwanese officials and legislators for several months that an FTA would be delayed because of existing trade disputes between the two and because of Chinese opposition to such an agreement. \nTECRO's Chen told the Legislative Yuan during a recent trip to Taipei that work on an FTA could not start until 2004 at the earliest, depending on resolution of dis-agreements on Taiwan's compliance with its WTO commitments and on China's views. \nEven after preparations and negotiations start, it could take many years before a deal is finalized. Washington and Chile just this week entered into a FTA after 10 years of talks, although officials here do not think a Taiwan FTA would take quite that long. \n"There are still a significant number or bilateral trade disputes" between Taiwan and Washington, said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the president of the US-ROC Business Council, a private business group that promotes bilateral trade. \n"In principle, a US-Taiwan FTA is a good idea, but Taiwan has some major roadblocks in its trade relations with the US that are holding up this process. And, until they are addressed, it's going to continue that way," he said. He called Chen's 2004 timeline "very realistic." \nWhile the administration has not been enthusiastic, congressional free-trade supporters have been pushing for an agreement. \nLast January, the then chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Max Baucus, and the ranking Republican, Senator Charles Grassley, urged the administration to have the International Trade Commission write a report on the impact of an FTA with Taiwan. \nThat report, which came out last summer, was generally positive, although it did not make any recommendations.
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of
ODD TIMING: Taiwan has called Chinese drills around the Taiwan Strait provocative and urged Beijing to focus on combating COVID-19 rather than harass its neighbor China yesterday accused the US of playing a dangerous game with its support for Taiwan, after a US warship passed through Taiwan Strait. China has been angered by the administration of US President Donald Trump stepping up support for the nation, such as through more arms sales, US patrols near Taiwan and last month’s visit to Washington by former premier and vice president-elect William Lai (賴清德). US Seventh Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Anthony Junco said the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Wednesday, in line with international law. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment