Trade agreement with Taiwan in US interest: Keelung mayor

16-Mar-2019 Intellasia | CNA | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (???) said Wednesday that inking a trade agreement with Taiwan would enhance implementation of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy.

Lin made the comment during a speech at the Washington-based think tank Global Taiwan Institute.

The Indo-Pacific strategy was introduced by US President Donald Trump’s administration in 2018, with a focus on developing opportunities in the digital economy, infrastructure, and energy across the region.

While the United States dispatching navy vessels to sail through the Taiwan Strait, arm sales to Taiwan and supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organisations remain important, the establishment of stronger bilateral economic ties would be more conducive to the implementation of the US strategy, the mayor argued.

Lin said he believes now is the best time to ink a Taiwan-US economic and trade agreement, although there remain many obstacles.

When asked if he believes Taiwan should relax its restrictions on pork and beef from the US, Lin said addressing farm product issues does not prevent discussions on developing closer economic and trade relations and starting the preparation for such agreements.

The United States and Taiwan should start a new phase of trade and economic cooperation without pre-conditions, he added.

Amid grave public concern and strong opposition, Taiwan has maintained a ban on US pork products containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine since 2006. However, the country did relax its ban on the drug in US beef products in 2012 due to pressure from Washington.

Lin has served as the mayor of Keelung city since 2014 and as the Democratic Progressive Party’s acting chair from November 2018 to January 2019.

During his visit, Lin met with lawmakers and officials from the National Security Council and State Department, including Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Hanscom Smith.


Category: Taiwan

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