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Taipei and Washington set to hold next round of TIFA talks in April

TAIPEI--Taiwan and the United States will hold their next round of talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on April 4 in Washington, the government announced Saturday.

The talks will be headed by Taiwan's Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Cho Shih-chao and Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Both ministries described the TIFA talks as an important forum for officials from the two countries to discuss trade and economic issues.

Officials from Taiwan's Council of Agriculture, Financial Supervisory Commission, Ministry of Health and Welfare, MOFA and MOEA will participate in the upcoming talks.

Taiwan's officials will seek to demonstrate to the U.S. all the efforts the government has made in the area of trade liberalization in order to seek U.S. support for Taiwan's participation in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc, the MOEA said.

The talks were resumed in March 2013 after a suspension of more than five years that was due largely to a dispute over U.S. beef exports to Taiwan. The resumption of talks followed Taiwan's lifting of a ban on certain U.S. beef products.

Important progress was made in the previous TIFA meeting, including the establishment of an investment working group to discuss issues related to a possible bilateral investment agreement (BIA), officials said.

The U.S. is Taiwan's third largest trade partner after China and Japan, and its biggest foreign investor. By contrast, Taiwan is the 12th largest trade partner of the United States and the second largest market on a per capita basis for U.S. agricultural exports.

The continuing TIFA talks can inject new momentum into and further consolidate the substantial relationship between the two countries, the MOEA said.

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