By Jeanny Kao and Ben Blanchard TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan has no illusions that it can quickly sign a long-awaited free trade agreement with the United States, but feels that when the time is right “success will flow naturally” the island’s top trade negotiator said on Friday. Taiwan has long sought a bilateral trade deal with the United States, the largest international arms supplier and sponsor to the island claimed by China. Last year, the government lifted a ban on the import of pork that contained ractopamine, an additive that improves leanness, removing a major obstacle to a deal with Washington. But President Joe Biden just took office, and his nominee for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers this week they would prioritize domestic investment in workers and infrastructure before embarking on new free trade deals. Minister without portfolio John Deng, who is leading the trade talks, told Reuters that the Taiwanese government knew very well that for the United States signing free trade agreements with anyone was a major problem, especially with a new government in office . “We absolutely understand American politics and we have no unrealistic fantasies,” he said, speaking in his office near the presidential office. “The new government has its priorities and, of course, we must understand that.” But Deng said he was confident a deal would eventually be reached, pointing to the pig’s decision and support for a deal among US lawmakers. “We’ve always thought it‘s about ‘when the conditions are right, success will flow naturally.’ Trade-dependent Taiwan is also looking to join the renewed version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement (NYSE 🙂 for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), signed in 2018, without the United States. “This is a very high priority project for us. But we also understand that this involves many other countries, 11 of them, so we are not willing to set a timeline or a goal,” Deng said. While Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, many countries are wary of signing trade deals with the tech powerhouse for fear of objections from China, although Taiwan has free trade agreements with Singapore and New Zealand. President Tsai Ing-wen told Britain’s newly appointed de facto ambassador to Taipei this week that she hoped talks could begin on a bilateral free trade or investment agreement. Britain has been seeking such deals since leaving the European Union. “There have been no negotiations, but the British side knows the interest of Taiwan,” Deng said, when asked about the possibilities of an agreement with Great Britain.
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