Taiwan, US to reopen stalled trade talks

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan said on Friday it is set to resume stalled trade talks with the United States early this year, after Taipei lifted a six-year-old ban on some US beef imports.

Taiwan's top economic officials and Mr Demetrios Marantis, deputy US Trade Representative, are expected to meet in Taipei by the end of March, the foreign ministry said.

Negotiations between Washington and Taipei on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), seen as a precursor to a full-fledged free-trade agreement, have been dormant since 2007.

"We welcome the resumption of TIFA talks and we hope Taiwan and the United States will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperations in trade and the economy," the ministry said in a statement.

The hiatus in the negotiations was prompted when Taiwan banned US beef containing ractopamine, a drug used in animal feed to promote lean meat.

Taipei amended the law in July 2012 to allow imports of the meat to resume.

Washington is the island's third-largest trade partner and a leading arms supplier, despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

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