News / Asia

US, Taiwan Resume Trade Talks

A staff member at a Taipei hyper market examines imported U.S. beef. (File Photo)
A staff member at a Taipei hyper market examines imported U.S. beef. (File Photo)
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan and the United States have resumed trade talks, after a five-year suspension. Taiwan had banned a range of U.S. beef imports until about half a year ago, when the last key ban was lifted. Now, the two sides are talking about trade liberalization that could help put Taiwan’s export-driven economy on a level with its rivals in Asia.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrio Marantis and Taiwan’s Vice Economics Minister Cho Shih-chao met behind closed doors Sunday to discuss liberalization of exports and investments. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks that end on Monday are meant to move the two sides closer to removing barriers.

Taipei wants the United States to sign a free-trade agreement, which would raise Taiwan's competitiveness in Asia. The island also wants to join the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade pact that is under negotiation.  Marantis told a news conference on Sunday that the talks with Taiwan went well but that it is too early for landmark agreements.

“We look forward to continued work with Taiwan in terms of building upon our already-strong trade and investment relationship and taking it to the next level.  Now, we recognize that Taiwan has interests in a free-trade agreement, has interests in the TPP. It was a very fulsome and robust conversation that we were able to have on all of these issues today,” Marantis stated.

Taiwan would face a tough fight getting a free-trade agreement with the United States. Admission to the Trans-Pacific Partnership -a pact that is being formulated with heavy American influence - would require consent not just from the United States but also from other members.

But those accords would lift Taiwan’s $466 billion economy as it competes with Japan, South Korea and parts of Southeast Asia.

Taiwan, which depends on exports of machinery and high-tech products, lags behind its peers because the United States cut off the trade talks in 2007 because of bans on American beef.  Marantis told the news conference that agricultural issues remain between Taiwan and the United States, but he did not elaborate.

The United States is Taiwan’s second-biggest export destination after China, and the United States is its largest source of foreign investment capital.  Taiwan is the 11th largest American trade partner overall, and was already importing about $128 million of U.S. beef per year before the most recent ban was fully lifted in mid-2012.

Liu Yi-jiun, an international affairs professor at Fo Guang University in Taiwan, says the island’s public is looking for strong returns from its Nationalist Party leadership, after Taipei's concession to Washington on beef imports.

“Beef is a fact, and people think that we have to accept it. On the part of the ruling party, the KMT, maybe the U.S. can offer something beyond people’s imaginations, for example, more advanced aircraft," said Liu Yi-jiun. "I think that would give the ruling party tremendous leverage to convince the local people here.”

U.S. officials say returns on such a scale are a long way off. On Sunday, the two sides issued joint statements in support of open trade in information technology services and fairness in two-way investment. They also set up working groups to continue discussions on American priorities such as investment in Taiwan and intellectual property rights. Negotiators hope to meet once a year.

You May Like

Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs