Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

Taiwan, US hold trade talks in Taipei, discuss agricultural products and forced labor

The Taiwanese government expressed hope that the US would open its market to Taiwanese mangoes and pineapples, among other agricultural products, during trade talks between the US and Taiwan, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

John Deng, head of the Cabinet’s trade negotiations office, said the issue of forced labor was also discussed during the talks as the US urged Taiwan to effectively stop such practices in its supply chains.

Addressing a press conference, John Deng said Taiwan’s trade representatives during trade talks with the US “expressed hope for a prompt and transparent approval process” for the country’s applications to export pineapples and mangoes.

Deng said other agricultural products Taiwan hopes to sell to the U.S. market include sausages and other processed meats. Trade talks between the US and Taiwan were held in Taipei from April 29 to May 3.

According to a CNA report, John Deng, who also serves as cabinet minister without portfolio, acknowledged that the US side was not able to provide any timeline on the matter.

He said it took 10 years for Taiwan to get US approval for Taiwanese guavas and added that “we don’t want the same thing to happen with pineapples and mangoes.”

John Deng made the remarks shortly after Taiwan and the US concluded five-day trade talks under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, focusing on agriculture, labor and environment sectors.

The talks between the two countries follow the signing of a preliminary agreement in June 2023 under the US and Taiwan initiative, covering customs administration and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, domestic regulation of services, anti-corruption and support for small and medium-sized businesses. Enterprises included. According to the report of Central News Agency (CNA).

Deng said that the issue of forced labor was also discussed during the talks. Speaking at the press conference, Yang Jen-ni, who led the Taiwanese side during the talks, said the US and Taiwan spent a lot of time discussing what forced labor is and how to stop such practices.

John Deng further said that while Taiwan has signaled readiness to deal with the issue of forced labor, the country currently does not have the mechanisms, legal tools and professionals to stop the practice, CNA reported.

He said existing laws are “inadequate” and need amendments or even new legislation, adding, “But I believe there is a consensus on this issue in Taiwan.”

Assistant US Trade Representative (USTR) for China, Mongolia and Taiwan Terry McCartin led the US delegation for the talks, according to USTR’s office.

Before the start of talks between the US and Taiwan, Yang Jen-ni said on April 29 that the latest round of talks would focus on issues related to labor, environmental protection and agriculture, the Central News Agency reported.

Speaking to reporters, Yang said these topics are more complex than those covered in previous rounds of talks because the two countries have different legal frameworks and rules related to them.

“So we need to talk face to face to understand our differences,” he said.

Journalists saw Wu Shou-mei, director general of the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), at OTN on Monday morning, the Central News Agency of Taiwan reported.

He said OTN has prepared Taiwan’s world-famous bubble milk tea and several Taiwanese specialties including pineapple, guava and passion fruit to welcome the visiting US delegation.

Asked if agricultural products were chosen as part of an effort to gain broader access to the US market, Yang said that was their goal, without elaborating on which products were in focus.

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