TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Wang Mei-hua (王美花), vice minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), stated on Monday that negotiations regarding the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) have been postponed due to the lack of a United States negotiation representative. She reiterated that the ongoing meetings have not been "canceled," but rather only "postponed."
The Legislative Yuan held an economic affairs committee meeting on Monday and officials were invited to do briefings and answer questions regarding the MOEA's business recruiting operations, trading deals, the New Southbound Policy, as well as the efforts in pursuing membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Wang and other economic officials were among those present for questioning.
The Executive Yuan confirmed recently that due to the fact that a Deputy U.S. Trade Representative has not yet been appointed, as well as other reasons, this year's TIFA meetings will be postponed until next year.
Legislators questioned whether disagreements on the importation of pork from the U.S. have led to the TIFA negotiations coming to a halt.
Wang denied the rumor and attributed the standstill to the lack of a trade representative, saying Taiwan is not the only country that has been affected.
Wang also stated that even if the position was filled, it would take a rather long period of time for the appointed trade representative to become familiar with details of the negotiation, which means holding negotiations by the end of this year would still be very unlikely.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S.'s de-facto embassy here, confirmed later the same day that there is no set date for TIFA talks following media reports.