Taiwan ready for free trade agreement with US: country's chief negotiator

Minister without Portfolio John Deng expressed optimism about a Taiwan-US bilateral trade agreement

  2137
Minister without Portfolio John Deng (Source: CNA)

Minister without Portfolio John Deng (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The minister without portfolio and Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator, John Deng (鄧振中), expressed on Monday (June 10) his optimism about the country conducting talks about a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.

Taiwan will “always be ready” for reaching an agreement with the U.S., said Deng, who is currently leading a business delegation of 112 members to take part in the SelectUSA, a summit promoting investment in the U.S., in Washington.

Deng holds an optimistic attitude toward conducting talks with the U.S. regarding the FTA, saying the signing of such deal will be an example that shows “high standards” of a trade agreement.

However, Deng also noted preconditions should not be imposed before any negotiations commence, so that all issues concerning both parties could be discussed on the table with “more space” and “flexibility.”

The negotiator was referring to the government’s ban on imports of American pork products carrying ractopamine, a drug applied to promote leanness of the meat.

In April, Minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA) Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told visiting U.S. officials that the government was not considering making changes to the current ban. The government, however, would be willing to discuss the matter in talks on a bilateral FTA, he added.

In addition to the Taiwanese authorities, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) has also voiced its support for a Taiwan-U.S. trade agreement.

In its annual White Paper published in May, AmCham urged the Taiwan government to take a more proactive step on the matter amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China.

Speaking with the media at the SelectUSA on Monday, Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said the Taiwanese delegation, which is the biggest compared to other countries, once again demonstrated Taiwan’s commitment to promoting Taiwan-U.S. trade relationship.

The Taiwanese delegation comprises representatives from information technology, biotechnology, and steel, among other industries, reported the Central News Agency.