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.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease