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Taiwan, US to discuss trade pacts in next TIFA talks

TAIPEI -- Taiwan and United States will discuss issues related to a possible bilateral investment agreement (BIA) and Taiwan's participation in the negotiations for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc, in their next round of major trade talks, an official said yesterday.

Taiwan has been upping its efforts to join the proposed U.S.-led Pacific Rim trade bloc and is seeking the support of the negotiating countries, Foreign Minister David Lin said at a press briefing.

In addition to its efforts to gain U.S. support, Taiwan has also held consultations with countries such as Japan, Brunei and Peru to discuss TPP-related issues, he said.

Taiwan and the U.S. will “exchange views on the TPP and BIA and issues under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)” at the next round of TIFA talks in Washington, Lin said. The talks are set to take place in April.

The two countries resumed TIFA talks in Taipei last March after a six-year suspension that was due largely to a controversy over U.S. beef imports. The agreement was signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-U.S. dialogue on trade-related issues, in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Regarding the TPP, Taiwan has set a goal of completing its preparations for joining the bloc by July, as the members are trying to conclude the first round of negotiations on the agreement.

In a hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific Kin Moy welcomed Taiwan's interest in the TPP but also said Taiwan should raise its interest with other TPP countries because the bloc is a consensus-style membership.

The TPP is currently being negotiated by the U.S. and 11 other countries — Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

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