Taiwan, US resume protracted trade talks

Featured World - March 12th, 2013
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Taiwan and the United States resumed stalled trade talks on Sunday in a bid to strengthen economic ties.

The two sides agreed on greater cooperation on international investment and information and communication technology services, Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said after meeting with Taiwan trade officials in Taipei under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which had been on hiatus since 2007, reports AFP.

The talks included boosting global digital literacy and build long-term investment relations that will create jobs and enhance economic growth of Taiwan as the politically isolated island seeks to join regional trade blocs, according to Bloomberg.

“The resumption of TIFA talks between Taiwan and the US represents a new stage in our economic relationship that will more fully open the lines of communication on trade and investment,” Marantis told reporters.

Officials from Taipei and Washington also agreed to set up working groups on investment and trade barriers. Taipei was also seeking US’ support of its bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Taiwan’s chief negotiator, Cho Shih-chao, who is also the vice economics affairs minister, assuaged concerns of pig farmers that Taipei might yield to US pressure and lift a ban on imports of US pork containing the additive ractopamine. Cho reassured that the island’s restrictions against pork imports would remain in place.

Talks stalled since Taiwan banned the import of US beef, which was found to contain a drug used in animal feed to promote lean meat. Taipei amended the law in July 2012 to allow imports of beef to resume.

The US is the island’s third largest trade partner and a leading arms supplier, despite revoking diplomatic recognition under the One China policy.