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Trade Facilitation Text Will Be Presented in First Taiwan Trade Round

In the first formal round of negotiations with Taiwan, the U.S. will present texts it would like to see adopted on good regulatory practices, trade facilitation and other areas, but not on lowering tariffs for U.S. exports, as that is beyond the scope of the 21st Century Trade Initiative.

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A senior official from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, briefing reporters Jan. 9, declined to say whether the U.S. would be asking for any changes to Taiwan's de minimis threshold or informal entry procedures. "I don't want to get into specific provisions that may or may not be included in individual chapter text. But there are many, many components to what we'll be addressing in the trade facilitation context and in the other contexts as well," he said in response to a question from Export Compliance Daily.

The official said that the U.S. and Taiwan want to move forward as quickly as possible on the 11 topics covered in the initiative, and that there could be an early harvest on some issues before the full agreement is completed.

One reporter asked the official if Taiwan's request to join consultations at the World Trade Organization over U.S. export controls on chips that used to be sold to China would raise tensions in these talks. The official said that just because Taiwan asked to join the consultations initiated by China doesn't mean it agrees with China. "It is our understanding that Taiwan supports the United States' position in the consultations," he said.

Members of Congress had asked that Taiwan be allowed to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. It is not in IPEF, but many of the elements of this initiative are similar to IPEF. The official said that the U.S. negotiating position is consistent with what it is presenting in IPEF, but given that each negotiation evolves differently, the commitments could end up in different places.

"I expect these negotiations will move more quickly than the IPEF negotiations," he said, since IPEF has to bring 14 countries together, and this just requires agreement between two.