Trade talks to resume between US, Taiwan

Trade talks to resume between US, Taiwan

TAIPEI - Agence France-Presse
Trade talks to resume between US, Taiwan

A shopper inspects meat at a market in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan’s legislature has passed a bill to remove a ban on the import of US beef with growth additives. EPA photo

The United States and Taiwan said yesterday they were preparing to resume stalled trade talks after Taipei recently lifted a six-year-old ban on some U.S. beef imports.

The much-anticipated announcement comes after a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vladivostok, Russia, between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Taiwan envoy Lien Chan.

“The United States and Taiwan will now begin exploratory work and prepare for future expert-level engagement,” the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, said in a statement.

The institute said Clinton will soon send a State Department official to Taipei to discuss “further broadening the US economic relationship with Taiwan”.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it welcome the US move to restart talks on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on TIFA, seen as a precursor to a full-fledged free-trade agreement, have been dormant since 2007.

The hiatus was prompted by a dispute over the import of US beef containing a growth drug, ractopamine, used in animal feed to promote lean meat. Taiwan’s parliament in July passed a bill to amend a law that had barred imports of U.S. beef containing the drug.

Taiwan, China and the European Union ban ractopamine because of possible human health risks, but 26 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil, have declared the product safe.