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First Taiwan-US Initiative meeting set for June 27 in Washington

Taiwan Minister-Without-Portfolio John Deng says talks will focus on trade agreement rather than 'free trade agreement' involving tariffs

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Taiwan chief trade negotiator John Deng.

Taiwan chief trade negotiator John Deng. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Minister-Without-Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said the first U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade meeting will be held on June 27 in Washington, D.C., following a virtual meeting with his American counterpart Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi two weeks ago.

Deng unveiled the date of the highly anticipated meeting in an interview with state media on Saturday (June 18). He clarified the objective of the meeting was to sign a trade agreement rather than a "free trade agreement" as the latter would involve the issue of tariffs, which would complicate talks.

"The American government has yet to be authorized by its Congress to carry out trade negotiations with any country that involves tariff removals or cuts," Deng added.

Deng said the meeting will touch on 11 issues:

  1. Trade facilitation
  2. Regulatory practices
  3. Agriculture
  4. Anti-corruption
  5. Support schemes for SMEs in trade
  6. Harnessing the benefits of digital trade
  7. Promoting worker-centric trade
  8. Environment and climate action
  9. Standards
  10. State-owned enterprises
  11. Non-market policies and practices

It is not clear who on the U.S. side will attend the first U.S.-Taiwan Initiative meeting, Deng said. It is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses.

The country's top trade negotiator said Taiwan displays a strong commitment to meeting international standards and regulations, as shown by lifting U.S. beef and pork import restrictions, and a decade-long ban on Japanese food products from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

"The growing awareness about Taiwan's dominant role in global semiconductor manufacturing since the outbreak of COVID-19 also helped make these talks happen."