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TRADE DEALS/Agricultural, forced labor products discussed in Taiwan-U.S. trade talks

05/03/2024 10:46 PM
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Trade Representative John Deng (right) and his deputy Yang Jen-ni. CNA photo May 3, 2024
Trade Representative John Deng (right) and his deputy Yang Jen-ni. CNA photo May 3, 2024

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) Taiwan's government expressed a desire for the United States to open its market to Taiwanese pineapples and mangoes, among other agricultural products, during the latest trade talks which concluded on Friday, Taiwan's top trade negotiator John Deng (鄧振中) told a press conference later the same day.

During the talks held in Taipei from Monday to Friday, Taiwan's trade representatives "expressed hope for an expedited and transparent approval process" for the country's applications to export pineapples and mangoes, said Deng, head of the Cabinet's Office of Trade Negotiations.

Other agricultural products that Taiwan hopes to sell to the U.S. market include sausages, pork floss and other processed meat products, according to Deng, who also serves as the Cabinet's Minister without Portfolio.

However, he acknowledged that the U.S. side was unable to provide a timeline on the matter.

It took Taiwan 10 years for the U.S. to green-light Taiwanese guava, Deng said, adding that "we do not want the same thing to happen to pineapples and mangoes."

His comments were made shortly after Taiwan and the U.S. completed the five-day trade talks under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, focusing on the areas of agriculture, labor and the environment.

The talks came after the two sides signed an initial agreement under the initiative in June 2023, covering customs administration and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, domestic regulation of services, anticorruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Meanwhile, the issue of forced labor was also on the negotiation table, as the U.S. side called on Taiwan to effectively prevent such practice in its supply chains, Deng said.

Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮), who headed the Taiwanese side during the talks, also said at the press event that the two sides spent quite some time discussing what constitutes forced labor and how to counter such practices.

Deng went to say that while Taiwan indicated a willingness to address the issue, the country currently lacks a mechanism, legal tools, and professionals to do so.

Existing laws are "insufficient" and will require amendments or even new legislation, he said. "But I believe there is a consensus on this issue in Taiwan."

The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for China, Mongolia and Taiwan Affairs Terry McCartin, according to the office of the USTR.

(By Teng Pei-ju)

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