Taiwan hopes to resume high-level trade talks with new agricultural division in US

TECRO agricultural division begins operations this week

 TECRO Representative Stanley Kao.

TECRO Representative Stanley Kao. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With the addition of an agricultural division, Taiwan’s representative office in the U.S. hopes to resume deputy ministerial-level trade talks with the U.S.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) held a press conference in Washington on Thursday (Dec. 5). At the press conference, TECRO Representative Stanley Kao (高碩泰) said he anticipated that the new agricultural division would spur deeper ties between Taiwan and the U.S.

Speaking on the new division’s short-term goals, Kao said he hoped to push for the restart of talks between the two countries under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which has been suspended for two years. First held in 1985, the TIFA talks have served as a negotiating platform between high-ranking Taiwanese officials and their U.S. counterparts on various trade issues.

Kao emphasized that the division’s tasks would not be confined to the issue of U.S. pork imports, adding that Taiwan and the U.S. share many common interests and enjoy reciprocal cooperation. The Taiwanese government has banned the import of American pork products containing ractopamine, despite the U.S.’s complaints.

The agricultural sector relies on experts to promote substantive exchanges with the U.S., said Kao. The representative office had planned for the division since 2017, and the initiative was finalized this year with the installation of senior agricultural officials, he added.

TECRO's agricultural division began operations on Monday (Dec. 2), though at the moment it shares an office with the economic division, according to TECRO Deputy Representative Christine Hsueh (薛美瑜). Its own office space is still being arranged, she said.