Taiwan-US trade talks unlikely this year: MOFA

Taiwan MOFA says TIFA talks unlikely this year, in discussions about next meeting

File photo: Regine Chen

File photo: Regine Chen (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The next Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting between Taiwan and the U.S. is unlikely to be held this year.

Regine Chen (陳慧蓁), deputy head of Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of North American Affairs, said at a regular press conference today that scheduling issues were behind the delay, and that the two parties are in contact about appropriate timing.

Taiwan and the U.S. signed the TIFA in 1994, and it is the most important bilateral economic consultation channel between the two nations.

Since 1994, 10 formal conferences have been held. The last time Taiwan and the U.S. formally spoke about TIFA was in Sept. 2016.

Trade talks last year were cancelled due to an absence of trade negotiators within the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Chen said that the U.S. had not put a line through talks talking place this year, but also conceded that the topic was not a high priority for the U.S. government, reported Liberty Times.

Recent months have seen numerous calls for Taiwan and the U.S. to pursue a trade agreement. On Sept. 12, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), urged the U.S. to pursue a trade deal with Taiwan, and last weekend a host of former U.S. diplomats and experts did the same.