Taiwan is under no illusions it can quickly sign a long hoped for free trade deal with the United States but feels when the time is right “success will flow naturally”, the island’s chief trade negotiator said on Friday. Taiwan has long sought a bilateral trade deal with the United States, the Chinese-claimed island’s most important international backer and supplier of arms. Last year, the government lifted a ban on the import of meat containing a leanness-enhancing additive, ractopamine, removing a major stumbling block to an agreement with Washington. But President Joe Biden has only just assumed office, and his nominee for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, told lawmakers this week they would prioritise domestic investment in workers and infrastructure before embarking on any new free trade agreements. Minister without portfolio John Deng, who leads trade talks, told Reuters Taiwan’s government well knew that for the United States to sign free trade agreements with anyone was a major issue, especially with a new government in office.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2021.

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