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US trade official predicts Taiwan initiative will produce quicker results than IPEF

Talks to begin immediately due to eagerness on both sides

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Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi speaking in Bangkok May 23. 

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi speaking in Bangkok May 23.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The United States-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade will produce quicker results than membership of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) because of the two nations’ strong interest in boosting economic ties, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said Thursday (June 2).

Bianchi and Taiwan’s top trade negotiator, Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), announced the initiative Wednesday (June 1). The move followed the U.S. failure to invite Taiwan to join IPEF, which caught some observers by surprise, interpreting it as a snub.

While both the Taiwan initiative and the IPEF project will start immediately, there was a possibility the former would bear fruit much sooner, Bianchi said in an interview with Reuters.

IPEF will have 14 members, excluding both Taiwan and China, with partners asked to choose “pillars” in which to participate. Digital trade rules, supply chains, infrastructure, labor rights, and environmental standards were among the possible pillars, Bianchi said.

She expressed eagerness to start discussions with Taiwan under a separate initiative to deal with topics including labor, small and medium enterprises, and digital trade, per Reuters.