Taiwan-US TIFA expected to resume this fall

Taiwan-U.S. TIFA expected to resumed this fall
2004-01-15 / Central News Agency

Bilateral U.S.-Taiwan consultations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement are expected to be resumed this year, probably in the fall, a senior U.S. trade official said yesterday.

Josette Sheeran Shiner, a deputy U.S. trade representative, will probably lead the U.S. delegation to Taipei later this year for the TIFA talks. Other U.S. officials expected to take part in the bilateral talks include Charles Freeman, an assistant trade representative, the official said during a meeting with Taiwan media posted in Washington, D.C.

The prospective meeting, which would be the first since 1998, is planned as the U.S. government considers that Taiwan has made progress in its intellectual property rights protection efforts over the past several years, the official said.

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan has passed amendments to the IPR protection law recently, contributing significantly toward efforts to convince the U.S. trade officials of the island’s IPR protection efforts.

Meanwhile, the quantity of counterfeit goods from Taiwan seized by U.S. customs in 2003 dropped from the previous level of US$20 million to US$600,000 in 2003, according to U.S. customs tallies. The drop also moved Taiwan down the U.S. list from third to beyond 10th in terms of foreign sources of counterfeit goods.

If the United States-Taiwan TIFA meeting is held later this year, it will be the first such meeting since the third of its kind was held October 26-29, 1998. The first two meetings were held in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

Taiwan and the United States signed the TIFA in September 1994. However, the United States suspended bilateral talks with Taiwan under this framework in 1998 due to its dissatisfaction with Taiwan’s slow progress in intellectual property rights protection, rice market opening, pharmaceutical pricing and telecommunications market opening.

Huang Chih-peng (黃鹏), director-general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade under Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, said earlier in January in Taipei that the expected U.S.-Taiwan TIFA talks are critical to the signing of a Taiwan-U.S. free trade agreement.

He said a resumption of TIFA consultations on various bilateral trade and investment issues will hasten the start of bilateral FTA negotiations.

Huang said the government has made strenuous efforts over the past few years to improve its IPR protection and accelerate market opening.

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