Taiwan News 2009-04-16
Cross-strait trade pact could aid FTA talks with U.S.: Taiwan’s rep
Staff Writer, Central News Agency
If Taiwan signs an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China, this would definitely contribute to future negotiations with the United States on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), Taiwan’s representative to Washington, D.C. said Wednesday.
Jason C. Yuan (袁健生), who is currently on a home consultation tour in Taipei, made the remarks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.
Fielding questions from legislators after reporting on the latest developments in Taiwan-U.S. relations and U.S. policy toward Taiwan under U.S. President Barack Obama, Yuan said the direction of the new U.S. administration’s trade policy remains to be seen.
Amid the current global economic downturn, Yuan said, calls for protectionism is rife in the United States and its Congress is not keen on FTA talks with other countries at the moment.
Against this backdrop, American politicians friendly toward Taiwan have suggested that Taiwan foster a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere.
For instance, he said, if Taiwan can sign an ECFA with China, it would be very helpful in future FTA talks with the U.S.
As the Obama administration has publicly voiced support for the resumption of visits to Taiwan by U.S. Cabinet-level officials, the Taiwan representative office has stepped up efforts to invite senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan in the future, Yuan said.
Yuan further said his office has also listed “signing of an extradition accord with the U.S. and pushing the Obama administration to grant visa-free treatment for prospective Taiwan tourists” as priority tasks on its work agenda.
On Taiwan’s bid for joining the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, Yuan said the U.S. administration presented a report to Congress last week, in which it holds a positive stance on Taiwan’s bid and clearly states that it would not like to see China interfere with the issue.
WHA is the decision-making arm of the U.N.-affiliated World Health Organization.