Taiwan, US to Resume Stalled Trade Talks

Negotiations between the two countries on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement have been dormant since 2007 due to beef dispute.

The United States and Taiwan said Monday they were preparing to resume stalled trade talks after Taipei recently lifted a 6-year-old ban on some U.S. beef imports.

The much-anticipated announcement comes after a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vladivostok, Russia, between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Taiwan envoy Lien Chan.

"The United States and Taiwan will now begin exploratory work and prepare for future expert-level engagement," the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy, said in a statement.

The institute said Clinton will soon send a State Department official to Taipei to discuss "further broadening the U.S. economic relationship with Taiwan."

Taiwan's foreign ministry said it welcome the U.S. move to restart talks on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on TIFA, seen as a precursor to a full-fledged free-trade agreement, have been dormant since 2007.

The hiatus was prompted by a dispute over the import of U.S. beef containing a growth drug, ractopamine, used in animal feed to promote lean meat.

Taiwan's parliament in July passed a bill to amend a law that had barred imports of U.S. beef containing the drug.

Taiwan, China and the European Union ban ractopamine because of possible human health risks, but 26 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil, have declared the product safe.

Washington had repeatedly urged Taipei to ease restrictions on U.S. beef, indicating that the stalled trade talks between the two sides hinge on the issue.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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