U.S. and Taiwan Trade Chiefs Video Conversation to Resume Bilateral TIFA Consultations

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai held a video conversation Thursday (June 10) with Deng Zhenzhong, a member of the Executive Yuan and chief negotiator for Taiwan’s Office of Economic and Trade Negotiations, to discuss bilateral trade and economic relations.

A press release issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said that during the conversation, Tai emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment relationship and explained the Biden administration’s “worker-centric” trade priorities. Dyche also said the United States will continue to work with Taiwan on issues of mutual interest in multilateral organizations.

The press release announced that the U.S. and Taiwan will hold the 11th meeting under the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in the coming weeks.

The resumption of economic and trade consultations under the TIFA has been one of the key objectives of Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen administration’s diplomacy with the United States.

The TIFA is a bilateral economic and trade dialogue platform signed by the U.S. and Taiwan in 1994 and held alternately in Washington and Taipei. The first economic and trade consultation between the two sides was held in 1995, and ten meetings have been held since then. However, the economic and trade consultations have been suspended since 2016, possibly due to Taiwan’s ban on imports of U.S. pork containing ractopamine (commonly known as “lean pork”) at the time. In January, Tsai Ing-wen’s government opened up U.S. pig imports against pressure from various domestic parties, apparently paving the way for the resumption of U.S.-Taiwan economic and trade consultations. Secretary of State John Blinken testified before Congress last Monday (June 7) that the U.S. would hold a trade dialogue with Taiwan, suggesting that the resumption of U.S.-Taiwan trade and economic consultations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement is just around the corner.

In an interview with Taiwan’s Central News Agency, Deng Zhenzhong, a member of the Executive Yuan and chief negotiator of the Office of Economic and Trade Negotiations, said the 11th TIFA meeting is expected to discuss issues of bilateral concern, including supply chain security, environmental protection issues such as carbon emissions, labor rights and welfare, the digital economy, and the protection of intellectual property rights and trade secrets under the evolution of new technologies. Deng Zhenzhong said the details of the topics to be discussed will need to be finalized after consultation between the two sides.

A press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative noted that the video dialogue between U.S. and Taiwan trade executives was held under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. Taiwan’s representative to the U.S., Mei-Chin Hsiao, attended the dialogue.

It is understood that the upcoming resumption of the 11th U.S.-Taiwan TIFA consultation will be held by video as the new crown epidemic has not yet subsided.