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Taiwan seeks support for FTA with US

Taipei Times, Taiwan

Taiwan seeks support for FTA with US

Staff Writer, with CNA

19 March 2007

The nation’s representative to the WTO, Lin Yi-fu, yesterday called for Taiwanese entrepreneurs operating in the US to help drum up US support for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

Lin made the appeal while delivering a speech on the WTO and the government’s role in the Geneva-based world trade regulatory body at a board meeting of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America in Dallas, Texas.

Lin, who arrived in Dallas on Thursday to attend the meeting from Friday to yesterday, said Taiwan was engaging in negotiations with the US about signing an FTA, which he said would benefit Taiwanese companies.

He voiced optimism that all US-based Taiwanese corporations would join forces with the government to lobby for an FTA between the two nations to be signed as soon as possible with the goal of boosting bilateral trade and economic relations.

The US is Taiwan’s third-largest trade partner after China and Japan, with bilateral trade reaching US$55.02 billion last year.

The US has been reluctant to launch talks on a trade and investment framework agreement, a stepping stone toward an FTA, because it says Taiwan’s intellectual property rights protection is poor. It is also unhappy about Taiwan’s rice import quotas and limitations on access to Taiwan’s pharmaceutical market.