Taiwan, U.S. hold high-level virtual talk to discuss bilateral trade

Taiwan, U.S. hold high-level virtual talk to discuss bilateral trade

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Taiwan’s top trade negotiator John Deng (鄧振中) held a virtual meeting with United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on Monday to discuss bilateral trade issues.

During the virtual meeting, Deng, who is also a minister without portfolio at the Executive Yuan, expressed hope that Taiwan and the U.S. would begin talks on a bilateral trade agreement, an official at the Cabinet’s Office of Trade Negotiations told CNA Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The official declined to comment on whether the bilateral discussions touched upon the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an initiative proposed by the U.S. government in 2021 with the aim of enhancing its economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

It was not mentioned in a readout provided by the USTR, either.

In Monday’s meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress made on bilateral trade issues since the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) council meeting in June 2021 and agreed to remain in contact on these and other issues in the coming months, according to the readout.

“They also discussed their mutual interest in working together on issues of common concern, including regionally and in multilateral organizations like the World Trade Organization,” the readout added.

The IPEF has yet to be clearly defined, but according to a U.S. Congressional Research Service report, U.S. officials do not envision it taking the form of a traditional trade agreement.

Instead, it will include different modules covering “fair and resilient trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and decarbonization, and tax and anticorruption,” the report said.

Taiwan’s government has expressed an interest in taking part in the IPEF initiative.

However, at a Senate hearing at the end of March, Tai was unwilling to comment on whether Taiwan would be invited to join the planned IPEF, saying only that the matter had yet to be decided.

Deng and Tai first held a bilateral meeting in June 2021, shortly before the TIFA council meeting, which included high-level trade and investment talks between the two countries.

During the TIFA council meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral trade issues such as supply chains, intellectual property, and agriculture while exploring opportunities to work together on tackling the climate crisis, according to the USTR.

(By Lai Yu-chen and Teng Pei-ju)


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