Taiwan, U.S. to resume TIFA talks on June 30

06/25/2021 07:39 PM
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Taipei, June 25 (CNA) Trade negotiations between Taiwan and the United States under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) mechanism will resume on June 30 after a four-year hiatus, according to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

In a statement issued Friday, the AIT said the 11th TIFA Council meeting will be held via digital video conference.

"AIT Director Brent Christensen and TECRO Representative Bi-Khim Hsiao will open the meeting with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Taiwan's Office of Trade Negotiations serving as the chief consultants," the AIT said.

TECRO refers to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., which acts as Taiwan's de-facto embassy due to the absence of diplomatic relations between the two sides.

On June 10, the USTR announced that U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Taiwan Minister-without-Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) committed to the convening of the 11th TIFA Council meeting during a virtual conference.

Deng told CNA in a phone interview after the conference that the upcoming TIFA talks could touch on supply chain security, carbon emissions, labor rights and welfare, the digital economy, intellectual property rights, and trade secrets protection.

The TIFA was signed by AIT and TECRO in 1994 and has served as the platform for advancing U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment interests, according to the AIT.

Taiwan is the U.S.' 10th largest trading partner, and the U.S. is Taiwan's 2nd largest trading partner, with a combined two-way goods trade of almost US$91 billion in 2020, the AIT said.

Cumulative bilateral foreign direct investment has reached over US$47 billion, it said.

Since the signing of the TIFA, the U.S. and Taiwan have hosted 10 high-level talks alternately from 1995 to 2016, but such discussions were suspended by the Trump administration.

According to media reports, this was due to the U.S.' displeasure with Taiwan's trade restrictions on some American goods, particularly agricultural products.

Taiwan has been keen to restart the TIFA talks, with a goal of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement, amid its continued exclusion from many regional trade mechanisms due to China's opposition.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Emerson Lim)

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