The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan and U.S. trade representatives are meeting in Taipei today for the third and final day of trade talks, and the likelihood of an agreement to let in controversial American pork seems low. The Council of Agriculture said after yesterday’s discussion that it would not agree to allow imports of U.S. pork products until a full risk assessment had been completed. Regardless, the council said, “we expect each side will still make its case.” On Day 1 of the talks, the U.S. delegation reportedly raised the prospect of Taiwan allowing in meat products from animals raised with the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine Such imports are currently banned, with this and previous governments pointing to the potential health risks associated with the drug. Taiwan also has a large pork industry, and hog farmers worry about the impact of allowing in U.S. competition. Also being broached by the U.S. at the meeting is that country’s US$13.3 billion trade surplus with Taiwan. That amount — which is the U.S.’ 14th-largest surplus — includes US$4.2 billion in services and US$3 billion in agriculture. U.S. representative are also concerned about the intellectual property rights of branded drugs. On a related front, they are pushing for U.S.-made medical devices to have a faster rollout onto the Taiwan market. In response, a Taiwan representative noted that relevant revisions to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act were scheduled for a second reading. The current talks are the first round of trade dialogue between Taiwan and the U.S. since Donald Trump took office. They are covering a wide range of topics, including intellectual property rights, drugs, medical devices, the trade surplus, pork imports and investment.
Bureau of Foreign Trade chief Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) is heading the Taiwanese delegation. The U.S. delegation includes representatives of the United States Trade Representative as well as the U.S. commerce and agriculture departments.