The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced Friday (June 25) that it will hold its 11th U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting next Wednesday (June 30), marking the first formal economic and trade consultation between the two sides after a five-year absence.
A press release issued by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Friday stated that AIT Taipei Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office representative Mei-Chen Hsiao will co-chair the meeting, which will be held via video webcast. Officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and Taiwan’s Executive Yuan Office of Economic and Trade Negotiations will participate in the meeting in their respective capacities as chief advisors to both sides.
“The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is a bilateral economic and trade dialogue platform signed by the United States and Taiwan in 1994 and held alternately in Washington, D.C. 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 consultation has been suspended since 2016, possibly due to Taiwan’s ban on imports of U.S. pork containing ractopamine (commonly known as “lean meat extract”).
The Tsai Ing-wen administration’s opening of U.S. pig imports in January this year, despite pressure from domestic parties, apparently paved the way for the resumption of U.S.-Taiwan economic and trade consultations.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before Congress on June 7, revealing for the first time that the U.S. would hold a trade dialogue with Taiwan and suggesting that the resumption of trade and economic consultations between the U.S. and Taiwan under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement is just around the corner. And U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced during a video conversation with Taiwan’s Executive Yuan Councilor and Chief Negotiator of the Office of Economic and Trade Negotiations Deng Zhenzhong on June 10 that the 11th U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting will be held in the near future.
AIT’s press release noted that the TIFA, signed by AIT and the Taiwan Representative Office in the United States in 1994, has served as a platform to advance mutual trade and investment interests. Taiwan is the 10th largest trading partner of the United States, while the United States is Taiwan’s second largest trading partner. Total bilateral physical trade will be nearly $91 billion in 2020, and total bilateral cumulative foreign direct investment has exceeded $47 billion.
The resumption of the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) consultation has been a key objective of the Tsai Ing-wen administration’s diplomacy with the United States.
Several Taiwan-friendly members of the U.S. Congress have repeatedly called on the U.S. government to negotiate and sign a free trade agreement with Taiwan.
In an interview with Taiwan’s Central News Agency on June 10 after a video call with U.S. Trade Representative David Deitch, Taiwan’s Executive Yuan Councilor and Chief Negotiator of the Office of Economic and Trade Negotiations, Deng Zhenzhong 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 and trade secrets under the evolution of new technologies etc. Deng Zhenzhong said the details of the topics to be discussed will need to be finalized after consultation between the two sides.
The AIT press release also stated that AIT looks forward to using the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement process to strengthen the strategic trade and investment partnership that already exists between the two sides.