Focus Taiwan | 17 October 2022
Taiwan, US hope to come up with ’early harvest’ list on trade deal by year-end
By Novia Huang and Joseph Yeh
Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Taiwan hopes to reach consensus with the United States to come up with an "early harvest list" on a bilateral trade deal before the end of this year, the nation’s deputy trade negotiator told lawmakers on Monday.
Deputy Trade Representative from Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮), said Taipei and Washington want to come up with the list once both sides have reached consensus on some of the 11 trade areas that are "already being widely discussed and agreed on in international trade talks" that are part of efforts to reach the trade deal, called the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.
Yang, however, did not elaborate or give more details on the so-called "early harvest list."
The U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade was unveiled by U.S. President Joe Biden after Taiwan was excluded from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a U.S.-led multilateral partnership involving 12 other countries, which has been touted as a counterweight to China-initiated free trade deals in the region.
Early harvest list or agreements are used to open up bilateral trade between two countries on a restricted list of goods and services, primarily as a frontrunner to clinching a more comprehensive free-trade agreement.
Yang made the remarks when asked by lawmakers to comment on the latest progress made in the ambitious 11-area trade initiative jointly announced by Taipei and Washington in June.
The 11 trade areas to be addressed in the negotiations include trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, anti-corruption, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME), agriculture, standards, digital trade, labor, environment, state-owned enterprises, and nonmarket policies and practices.
Both governments later announced on Aug. 17 that the first round of negotiations of the new initiative will take place this fall, but no updates have been made on the deal so far.
Asked to comment on the issue during a Legislative session, Yang said Taiwan and the U.S. are still in talks to come up with the exact time and location to hold the first round of meetings.
Both sides have hoped that a final agreement on all 11 areas can be reached before the end of next year with an "early harvest list" on some of the areas to be proposed before the end of this year, once the official negotiation starts, she added.