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AIT: Taiwan-U.S. dialogue will help bilateral ties

2017/07/26 15:09:27

Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A dialogue between Taiwan and the United States on trade and investment that began Wednesday is expected to help ties between the two countries, according to a spokeswoman for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Sonia Urbom said that the dialogue, which is expected to run through Friday, will cover a wide range of topics, such as intellectual property rights protection, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agriculture, investment and technical barriers to trade.

It is the first trade dialogue between Taipei and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

An AIT delegation is taking part in the talks with a Taiwanese delegation organized by the Executive Yuan's Office of Trade Negotiations and headed by Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮), the office's deputy chief negotiator.

Yang is also director of the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The U.S. delegation to the talks will meet with relevant trade authorities in Taiwan and "will continue to work to expand U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade and investment relations," Urbom said in a statement.

According to the Office of Trade Negotiations, the U.S. delegation is comprised of representatives from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture.

Tseng Hsien-chao (曾顯照), a negotiator of the Office of Trade Negotiations, said that the latest annual negotiations are expected to focus on topics raised in previous talks, including pork and beef imports from the United States.

In the 2016 dialogue held in Washington under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), a bilateral mechanism between the two countries, the U.S. delegation raised the pork and beef import issue.

Taiwan bans imports of U.S. meat products that contain traces of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine. It relented on beef in 2012 after maximum residue limits for ractopamine in beef and pork were set by a United Nations food standards body.

In addition, Tseng said that both sides are expected to talk about the huge trade surplus Taiwan enjoys with the U.S.

Taiwan ranks as the 14th-largest country to record a trade surplus with the U.S., and the aggregate trade surplus Taipei has over Washington totals about US$9.1 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Tseng said that his office has explained the trade surplus to the U.S., emphasizing that the figure does not include the purchase of military vessels or military personnel training, so that Taiwan is not the major cause of the huge trade imbalance.

In fact, Tseng said, Taipei and Washington are complementary to each other in terms of global trade.

Tseng said the 2017 negotiations are expected to resolve technical issues rather than come up with any substantive advances in economic policies related to bilateral economic relations.

(By Ku Chuan, Scarlett Chai and Frances Huang)