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September 24, 2017

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US officials conclude trade promotion visit

TAIPEI--A group of U.S. government officials have concluded a visit to Taipei to discuss ways of boosting trade and bilateral economic cooperation, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Friday.

The U.S. officials, headed by Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Eric Altbach, held talks with their Taiwanese counterparts Oct. 23-25 on trade, investment and other economic issues of mutual concern, the ministry said in a statement.

The two sides also discussed measures to further expand and deepen bilateral trade and economic partnership under the terms of the Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the ministry said.

The U.S. delegation comprised officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Agriculture and the Washington headquarters of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), according to the economics ministry.

Over the past three days, the delegation addressed issues such as improving the investment environment and reinforcing regulatory collaboration, the ministry said.

The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in agriculture and food safety, the removal of investment barriers and development of digital economies, it said.

The agenda also covered intellectual property rights protection, pharmaceutical and medical equipment pricing, standardization, and the removal of technical barriers to trade, the MOEA statement said.

Moreover, the ministry said, officials from both sides exchanged views on Taiwan's bid to take part in regional economic integration activities.

The U.S. delegation's visit came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on the sidelines of the APEC summit in the Russian city of Vladivostok last month that Taiwan and the U.S. will hold an expert- or working-level meeting on trade issues of mutual interest.

Clinton made the remarks during a meeting with Taiwan's representative to the APEC summit, former Vice President Lien Chan.

Meanwhile, Vice Economics Minister Francis Liang said Friday that during talks this week, Taiwanese and U.S. officials tentatively agreed to discuss e-commerce and standards formulation, under the TIFA.

He said, however, it is still uncertain when TIFA talks will resume.

"We hope they can resume as soon as possible," he added.

TIFA talks have been suspended since 2007 due mainly to disputes over U.S. beef imports, which were resolved earlier this year.

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