In this file:
· POLITICO Pro Q&A: Taiwan's top U.S. diplomat presses for free trade agreement
· Central Taiwan city launches ‘safe pork’ label
· Senator Rubio urges U.S. commitment to trade deal with Taiwan
POLITICO Pro Q&A: Taiwan's top U.S. diplomat presses for free trade agreement
Bi-Khim Hsiao met with POLITICO via video conference to discuss why Taiwan badly wants a free trade agreement with the United States.
By Doug Palmer, POLITICO
Taiwan is making a renewed push to persuade U.S. policymakers to begin talks on a bilateral free trade agreement as relations between the United States and China deteriorate rapidly.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen laid out her hopes for the countries to finally begin negotiation on the long-sought agreement in a speech last month.
She has dispatched her former national security adviser, Bi-Khim Hsiao, to Washington as the country’s top diplomatic representative. Hsiao is the first woman to head up Taiwan's unofficial embassy, which is known as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
She met with POLITICO via video conference to discuss why Taiwan badly wants a free trade agreement with the United States.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
I wanted to start with Taiwan’s recent decision to open its market to U.S. pork and beef. Why did you all decide to do this now, after so many years of U.S. pressure?
The global situation in terms of the common economic challenges we face now in the post-pandemic period, the urgency of Taiwan's geopolitical position in Asia, the situation in Hong Kong and the fact that a number of Asian countries are organizing new trade blocs and keeping Taiwan out, compels us to seek stronger trade relations with other trading partners.
We believe deepening trade relations between Taiwan and the United States is good for both of our countries so our government made a decision to deal with these very complicated agricultural issues.
Agriculture is not a significant portion of our bilateral trade. However, politically it is very sensitive. That's why it's taken several administrations to arrive at where we are today.
Are there still technical details to work out? When would you expect Taiwan to make its first purchases of U.S. beef and pork as result of this decision? ...
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several other U.S. officials have welcomed Taiwan's action. But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has remained silent, even though he recently indicated the beef and pork issue was the main obstacle to starting free trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan. Are you discouraged by his silence on this issue? ...
Central Taiwan city launches ‘safe pork’ label
Taichung to maintain total ban on ractopamine despite central government lifting import restrictions
By Matthew Strong, Taiwan News
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taichung City has launched a labeling campaign aimed at letting hog farmers and meat producers tell customers their product does not contain residues of the leanness drug ractopamine, reports said Friday (Sept. 11).
The city is ruled by the KMT, which is demanding a national referendum about last month’s government decision to end a ban on pork from the United States beginning Jan. 1. The move has been described as a positive step in the direction of a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S., but local hog farmers and consumers activists have opposed the initiative.
Taichung is printing 30,000 labels that will allow meat producers, distributors, restaurants and other merchants to tell consumers about the origin and safety of their beef and pork, CNA reported. While the central government’s import restrictions should end in January, Taichung intends to maintain a complete ban on any level of ractopamine in meat.
Even products with less than the officially approved maximum level of the drug will lead to fines...
Senator Rubio urges U.S. commitment to trade deal with Taiwan
By Stacy Hsu, Chiang Chin-yeh and Matthew Mazzetta, Focus Taiwan
Washington, Sept. 10 (CNA) United States Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday called on the U.S. State Department to send a high-ranking official to visit Taiwan as a demonstration of its commitment to negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rubio noted that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recently announced the lifting of import restrictions on U.S. beef and pork, which he said had been "the sole obstacle" to pursuing a bilateral FTA.
In light of Taiwan's move, Rubio said, he was calling on Pompeo to send Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environment Keith Krach to visit Taiwan "as soon as possible to demonstrate U.S. determination to complete an FTA in a timely manner."
In strategic terms, Rubio said, maintaining U.S. economic influence and reducing Taiwan's dependence on trade with China is "essential to ensuring the Indo-Pacific remains free and open."
He also noted that Taiwan is America's 10th largest trade partner and has proven itself to be "a partner of the first order."
"Now is the time to begin negotiations," he said in the letter, which was copied to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
In the letter, Rubio also noted that Taiwan will be holding a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) later this month.
It "would be fitting to send a senior U.S. official" to attend the ceremony, Rubio said.
On Aug. 28, Tsai announced that Taiwan will set standards for residues of the livestock drug ractopamine in imported pork and will allow the import of U.S. beef from cattle over 30 months old, with effect from next January.
The decision was seen as intended to address longstanding U.S. objections that the restrictions were trade barriers and to pave the way for an eventual free trade agreement between the two countries.
A few days after Tsai's announcement, the U.S. State Department said...