USTBC Applauds USTR Announcement of Intent to Restart TIFA Talks with Taiwan, Calls for Bilateral Trade Agreement

June 10, 2021

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Press Release:
US-Taiwan Business Council Applauds USTR Announcement of Intent to Restart TIFA Talks with Taiwan, Calls for Bilateral Trade Agreement

(Arlington, Virginia, June 10, 2021)

The US-Taiwan Business Council today welcomed the announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), committing to convening the 11th Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting with Taiwan in the coming weeks.

The upcoming TIFA meeting – which will be conducted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) – will be the first such meeting since October of 2016. The announcement came after U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai met virtually today with Taiwan Minister Without Portfolio John Deng, who oversees Taiwan’s trade policy.

Council President Hammond-Chambers commented that “TIFA is a modest platform which the U.S. and Taiwan have periodically employed to conduct exchanges and negotiations on bilateral economic issues. While the absence of a TIFA meeting since 2016 is reason enough to talk, the action-forcing event is likely one of the four Taiwan referendums slated for August 28, 2021. President Tsai Ing-wen has enacted new import rules allowing import of U.S. pork with traces of the steroid ractopamine, and one of the referendums will determine if the Taiwan people wish to halt such imports. Referendum passage, while non-binding, would have long-term negative implications for bilateral trade relations. Issues surrounding ractopamine residue in meat imports have been an insurmountable obstacle for expanded bilateral trade talks for the last decade, and referendum passage would also impede President Tsai’s ability to move this noxious issue permanently off the table.

Hammond-Chambers added that “On June 8, the US-Taiwan Business Council joined with our colleagues at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan to send a letter from the US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Coalition (www.ustaiwanbta.com) to Ambassador Tai, asking her to move beyond the TIFA and to begin negotiations with Taiwan on a high-standards trade agreement. While restarting TIFA is an indispensable first win, the two organizations – representing American business interests in Taiwan on both sides of the Pacific –encouraged USTR Tai to announce her intention to initiate BTA talks as soon as feasible.

A copy of the BTA Coalition letter to Ambassador Tai is attached.

About the US-Taiwan Business Council:

The US-Taiwan Business Council (www.us-taiwan.org) is a membership-based non-profit organization, founded in 1976 to foster trade and business relations between the United States and Taiwan. The Council provides its members with business intelligence, offers access to an extensive network of relationships, and serves as a vital and effective representative in dealing with business, trade, and investment matters.

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