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Taiwan-U.S. pact should not be linked to pork dispute: official
Central News Agency
2014-06-05 10:44 PM
Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taiwan would be glad to start negotiating a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with the United States, but the negotiations should not be linked to Taiwan's import ban on U.S. pork containing the leanness enhancing drug ractopamine, an economics official said Thursday. Deputy Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun said Taiwan has long wanted to sign a BIA with the U.S. as soon as possible, but some members of the U.S. Congress have believed that the two governments should not launch BIA negotiations until they can make further steps to solve the dispute over U.S. pork imports. However, it is difficult to lift a ban on imports of U.S. pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug because Taiwan still maintains separate regulations for beef and pork imports, Duh added.

Taiwan has lifted the ban on U.S. beef containing the drug. To facilitate the flow of investment from Taiwan to the U.S., Duh said, the two governments should begin BIA negotiations and should not wait until the U.S. pork dispute is resolved. The economics official was responding to a White Paper released earlier in the day by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei, in which the chamber urged both the U.S. and Taiwan governments to make the launching of a BIA their "top bilateral priority." AmCham said it looks forward to the start of BIA negotiations as a "steppingstone" to the eventual acceptance of Taiwan as a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed regional economic bloc that Taiwan is keen to join. The idea of a U.S.-Taiwan BIA was first announced in 2006, but was soon overshadowed by the dispute over U.S. beef imports to Taiwan. Taiwan lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef containing traces of ractopamine in July 2012, paving the way for the resumption of talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in March 2013. Until then, the talks had been suspended for more than five years. Commenting on AmCham's proposal to reduce Taiwan's economic dependence on China and diversify its economic activities, Duh said that negotiating and signing more agreements with China will be a "critical tactic" as part of Taiwan's strategy to join the global community. (By Huang Chiao-wen and Jeffrey Wu)

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