TIFA conference between Taiwan, U.S. to open in Taipei

Dec 08, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Judy, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 8, 2003 (CENS)--Suspended for more than one year, the conference on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between Taiwan and the United States will resume on Wednesday in Taipei.

During the two-day conference, Taiwan representatives are reportedly to raise issues on paddy rice and intellectual property rights protection. But the U.S. side is believed to also present such issues as approved prices for imported drugs and further market opening for fixed line telecommunications.

Among the representatives coming from the U.S. are F. Ruzicka, economics section chief at the Washing D.C.-stationed American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Scott Ki, an official in charge of Taiwan affairs at the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Office. During their stay here, the U.S. delegation will pay visits to some government units, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Council of Agriculture, and the Department of Health.

To prepare for the upcoming conference, the Board of Foreign Trade (BOFT) under the MOEA recently held intensive meetings with relevant government units to map out measures that can satisfy their U.S. counterparts. BOFT hopes that this primary TIFA conference can cover the issue regarding the possible signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and the U.S. And the government officials here hoped that Josette Sheeran Shiner, deputy U.S. trade representative, could come to Taiwan next year to attend the vice-ministerial TIFA conference.

A BOFT official disclosed that Robert B. Zoellick, head of USTR, has sent a letter to Economics Minister Lin Yi-fu expressing his discontentment at the measures adopted by the government here on some trade issues. Among them were import quota on paddy rice, intellectual property rights protection, market opening for fixed line telecommunications, and the fixed prices on the import drugs.

Lin has already replied to Zoellick explaining Taiwan Government's stance on the issues, which is believed understood by the latter.
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