Sunday, October 03, 2010

US and Taiwan Beef No More

Trade talks are resuming between the US and Taiwan, which is excellent news for those of us hoping that Washington will realize the future is out here in Asia. The Taipei Times says:

Taiwan and the US are set to resume negotiations on economic issues under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) after a three-year hiatus.

The decision was finalized after a delegation of officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Department of Commerce and the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Washington headquarters met with Taiwanese officials in Taipei during a two-day visit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a press release issued yesterday morning, the AIT said: “The two sides are working to finalize mutually agreeable dates for the [TIFA] meeting and are targeting late 2010 or early 2011.”

The spat over US beef sales to Taiwan has been shelved so that both sides can work on other issues. At last someone somewhere had an attack of common sense! The beef spat not only soured relations between Taiwan and the US, but also caused the fall of NSC Su Chi. It also led to some re-assessments of Ma among US analysts, I've heard.

A TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) is often said to be an important precursor to a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations (US-Taiwan FTA site here but I don't know who runs it). At this point, a US-Taiwan FTA seems as unlikely as F-16 sales....
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