TIFA talks rescheduled to Sunday due to altered travel itinerary: AIT

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The opening date for the Taiwan-United States Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks has been rescheduled to Sunday instead of Monday to meet the U.S. delegation’s travel plans, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday. The TIFA talks originally set to begin on March 11 and 12 in Taipei will now move one day earlier to accommodate the AIT and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) delegation’s additional travel requirements, the AIT said in a released statement. The U.S. government expressed gratitude to Taiwanese counterparts for graciously agreeing to the new schedule, it added.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and officials from the USTR and the Departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture, as well as officials from the AIT are set to participate in the meetings. Members of the delegation will continue to participate in related bilateral meetings on March 11 and 12, it noted.

TIFA is the core mechanism through which the U.S. and Taiwan explore ways to deepen their economic relationship, and Ambassador Marantis is eager to meet with his Taiwanese counterparts, the AIT said. The meetings are being held under the auspices of the AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), the nation’s de facto embassy to Washington.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday that the upcoming TIFA talks will be co-chaired by Vice Economics Minister Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭) and Marantis. The MOEA will hold a press conference at the end of the meetings, a MOEA statement said.

TIFA was signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-U.S. dialogue on trade-related issues in the absence of official diplomatic ties, but has been suspended since 2007 mainly because of controversies over imports of American beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.