Taiwan plans to get US backing for trade
CNATAIPEI--Taiwan plans to win the support of the United States to join a Pacific Rim trade bloc through long-stalled talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
August 15, 2012, 12:19 am TWN
“We have this strategic plan in mind,” said Bruce Linghu, director-general of the ministry's Department of North American Affairs, at a press conference.
That means that Taiwan first needs to resume TIFA talks, which have been stalled since 2007, as soon as possible, he said.
Taiwan's Legislature took a major step toward reopening the talks when it recently lifted the country's ban on beef imports containing ractopamine, a veterinary leanness enhancing drug approved for use in the U.S.
The ractopamine ban had been described by U.S. officials as a “stumbling block” in getting TIFA talks back on track.
But Linghu also said that beyond getting the support of others, Taiwan also needed to prepare itself if it wanted to join the Pacific Rim trade bloc, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “We have much work ahead, especially at the level of trade liberalization,” he said.
President Ma Ying-jeou's administration has set the goal of gaining membership in the multilateral free trade agreement within the next eight years.
“The U.S. has always welcomed Taiwan's participation, and we also want to take part in the organization,” Linghu said.
The official said Taiwan could also expect to gain the support of Singapore and New Zealand, two of the countries that initiated the TPP in 2005, if ongoing bilateral trade agreements are sealed.
Taiwan is currently negotiating economic cooperation agreements with the two countries.