Taiwan, US make headway at 10th round of TIFA talks

The 10th round of talks between Taiwan and the U.S. under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement wrapped up Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C., with important understandings achieved on several key issues.

During the one-day event, officials from both sides discussed a wide range of topics spanning agriculture, intellectual property rights protection, investment and transparency, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, regional and multilateral collaboration, as well as technical barriers to trade.

Wang Mei-hua, vice minister of economic affairs and chief representative of the Republic of China (Taiwan) at the meeting, said constructive trade interactions are key to ensuring mutual benefits.

Taiwan will continue to work with the U.S. in a pragmatic manner through the TIFA platform so as to create more opportunities for bilateral collaboration and reduce disagreement between the two sides, she said.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman said the U.S. expects the TIFA Council Meetings to help achieve meaningful progress on issues of mutual concern and bring Taiwan's trade and investment infrastructure in line with global standards.

According to the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Executive Yuan, both sides agreed to fast-track negotiations on the bilateral Trade in Services and Environmental Goods agreements. Concluding the pacts this year would be conducive to bolstering trade and job creation, the agency said.

In terms of IPR protection, Taiwan and the U.S. will facilitate the establishment of an electronic exchange mechanism for priority documents. In addition, the two sides will study the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding to jointly combat IPR infringement.

Representatives from both countries agreed to organize a seminar early next year in Taipei on regulatory transparency and predictability.

Concluded in September 1994, the TIFA is a vital instrument for the advancement of bilateral trade and investment between Taiwan and the U.S. in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Bilateral discussions were put on hold in 2008, largely due to the government's decision to forbid U.S. beef imports containing leanness-enhancing feed additives. The ban was lifted in July 2012, and discussions resumed in March 2013.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)