U.S., Taiwan to enter talks on tech cooperation
Washington, Nov. 20 (CNA) U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach announced Friday that the United States and Taiwan will kick off talks on technology cooperation after both sides wrapped up an economic partnership dialogue that day, according to Taiwan's Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺), who led a delegation to the meeting.
Speaking to reporters in Twin Oaks, an 18-acre estate located in Washington, D.C. that is owned by Taiwan's government and used for official functions, Chen said Krach praised Taiwan's achievements in technology development and expressed hopes that both sides will work together in a wide range of aspects, such as technology talent exchanges, research progress protection, transparency in research processes and academic ethics.
Chen said Krach sees Taiwan as a reliable partner during the first U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership (EPP) Dialogue, which covers a broad range of economic issues including the Clean Network, 5G networks and telecommunications security, supply chains, clean infrastructure cooperation, renewable energy, global health, science and technology, and women’s economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurship.
Krach, the under secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, who led the U.S. team during the one-day dialogue, had visited Taiwan in September, in what was the highest-level visit by a U.S. State Department official in more than three decades.
"Details of bilateral cooperation will be ironed out step by step," Chen said, referring to the dialogue, Krach's September visit to Taiwan and the previous visit by U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar in August.
Chen said Azar's visit has led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding on medical care cooperation to take on pandemics and this dialogue has led to future negotiations on technology collaboration.
In the opening of Friday's dialogue, Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan Managing Director Ingrid Larson signed another MOU to lay the groundwork for deeper and more comprehensive economic cooperation in the future.
The dialogue was held both in person and virtually as a precaution because COVID-19 showed no signs of fading in the United States.
While Chen attended the meeting in the U.S., Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花), Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and other related officials were taking part by video conference from Taipei.
"The planned talks on technology cooperation were the most concrete outcome of the dialogue. That was very meaningful," Chen told reporters.
Chen said he will detail the progress of the talks soon after he returns home. The talks on technology cooperation with Washington is expected to be launched with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), he said.
When asked whether the dialogue will continue in the future, Chen simply said the U.S. delegation said "see you next year" to its Taiwanese counterpart.
"The EPP Dialogue was an opportunity to continue work in existing areas of economic cooperation while also forging new economic ties between the United States and Taiwan," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
"Future EPP Dialogues will help strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship, further magnify the two societies’ respect for democracy, and strengthen our shared commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and freedom," according to the State Department.
For her part, Hsiao, the director of TECRO, said she hoped Taiwan and the U.S. will continue such a dialogue since the forum can become one of the most important channels for high-ranking official talks between the two sides.
Hsiao said she also hoped Washington and Taipei will continue to build a close partnership that will bring mutual economic benefit and prosperity to both sides.
Chen said the dialogue with the U.S. secured support from the public and the industries of both sides, as well as from both parties in the U.S. Congress.
During his visit to Washington, Chen said he also exchanged views with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
While he declined to reveal the contents of his discussions with the USTR, Chen said the contacts were smooth and both sides had a pleasant conversation.
Chen said his conversation with the USTR did not touch on the issue of U.S. beef and port exports to Taiwan, adding the issue was not at the top of the agenda in their exchanges.
Chen said he has faith Taiwan will continue to have a good relationship with the U.S. no matter who takes office in the White House in January 2021.
In August, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced that the government's decision to set standards for ractopamine residues in imported pork and to allow imports of U.S. beef from cattle over 30 months old, will take effect from Jan. 1, 2021, in an apparent effort to clear the way for a trade deal with the U.S.
Neither Chen nor the US side, however, mentioned following the latest talks, when a trade agreement might be reached or whether they are working toward a timeline.
Some critics of the decision to lift the ban on U.S. pork have argued that it does not prioritize the health of Taiwanese people or the interests of local pig farmers, despite the government's reassurances.
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